The signing of Charles Leclerc by Ferrari was possibly one of the worst-kept secrets in F1. However, when Daniel Ricciardo moved to Renault. It was by contrast, the biggest bombshell in the driver market.
The Australian leaves Red Bull and its structure after five years in search of new challenges. According to recent rumors, Ricciardo would have signed for Renault for twenty million euros. However, former F1 champion Alain Prost, team consultant denied the rumours.
According to Prost, contacts with Ricciardo have been taking place since 2017, even before Carlos Sainz had the opportunity to sign for the French team. If Daniel has chosen Renault it has not been for money, but because it was the best option outside a Mercedes or Ferrari seat.
“There was not the least financial outlay, contrary to what was said, we had already discussed with Daniel last year, even before contacting Carlos Sainz, we were interested, but it was too much, we talked without really being convinced that it could be done. Very often, it was he who came back to ask us questions. The conclusion is that he was not really happy where he was. He would have preferred to go to Mercedes or Ferrari if he had had a chance,” he explained to L’Eequipe.
With the shadow of Max Verstappen in Red Bull, Ricciardo did not want to become the new Mark Webber, so leaving the one that had always been his home has been the chosen option. Prost knows that Daniel has seen in Renault the perfect team to start growing even more as a driver, with a long-term project that can give him many joys, but which is equally risky. The Australian was the one who hit the door of Renault, and not vice versa, according to Alain.
“What he liked about Renault was getting involved in a new project, although we were less competent than Red Bull, instead of staying in a team where he could see Max Verstappen as the team’s favorite. So this summer, it was he who came to us, he surprised us a little, he did everything in fifteen days, it’s the first time we have a pilot that will save us time, and for the rest, you know, Daniel, he’s nice and positive guy, his image is very good,” says the Frenchman.