Red Bull chief Christian Horner says he’s struggling to get his head around why Daniel Ricciardo would decide to leave for Renault.
The Australian driver stunned the world of Formula 1 last week when he announced he would be leaving Red Bull at the end of the season to take up a spot with the Renault team on a two-year contract.
Having said only days before that he was close to agreeing an extension with Red Bull, the decision to perform a U-turn and move to the French manufacturer, who have yet to win a race since their return to the grid as a full-time team three years ago, has left Horner perplexed.
Horner has suggested the 29-year-old has decided to move on having felt his leadership role in the team was under threat from youngster Max Verstappen, while also indicating Ricciardo would prefer to be a big fish in a small pond.
Speaking to the F1 Beyond the Grid podcast, Horner said: “He feels Renault are in the ascendancy. I can’t help but feel he wants to be a leading role perhaps in a smaller
“Daniel said he decided after a long flight to America that he had decided he wanted a change.
If you look at the rational reasons for that, it’s difficult to understand.
“I could understand if it was to Ferrari or Mercedes. But it’s an enormous risk at his stage in his career.”
When talking about the challenge Verstappen now poses to Ricciardo, Horner added: “The competition between him and Max is intense.
“Max is growing stronger and stronger. I think Daniel has decided the time is right for him to check out and try something else.”