Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko admits Daniel Ricciardo’s decision to jump ship to Renault has left him baffled. It seemed as though Ricciardo was set to pen a fresh deal with the Milton Keynes-based marque only to announce that he will move to Renault for the 2019 campaign.
The Australian driver had hinted after the Hungarian Grand Prix that he was ready to commit his future to Red Bull to help the team continue their pursuit of Mercedes and Ferrari.
However, he will now likely be down among the also-rans in the coming seasons, leaving Marko puzzled.
“I don’t understand it. It was a very strange situation anyhow,” he told Austrian TV station Servus. “The negotiations were difficult but Wednesday before the Austrian Grand Prix we were talking for two hours and came to an agreement.
“During the weekend, we were talking and renegotiating again.
“In Hungary, he told Mr. Mateschitz [Dietrich, Red Bull owner] and me that he was OK with everything and that he was going to sign during the test on Tuesday. But he didn’t.
“On Thursday, he then called and told me he was going to Renault. I can only assume that maybe he doesn’t believe in the Honda project or that Renault offered him a lot of money.”