Ricciardo unsure staying at Red Bull 'would have been great'

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Daniel Ricciardo reiterated his view that he has no regrets over leaving Red Bull at the end of 2018 as he believes that it's "not a sure thing" that things would have been great had he stayed.

Ricciardo will enjoy a homecoming of sorts next season when he returns to Milton Keynes, having signed up with Red Bull as a reserve driver for 2023.

The Aussie's move comes after McLaren brought an early end to his three-year contract with the team, a premature resolution that followed two disappointing seasons with the Woking-based outfit in 2021 and 2022.

Ricciardo had transferred to McLaren following two campaigns with Renault that had yielded only a pair of podiums with the French outfit, both achieved in 2020.

Considering the remarkable success - 30 wins - enjoyed by Verstappen at Red Bull since Ricciardo's exit at the end of 2018, and the Aussie's meager track record since, questioning the wisdom of the Aussie's decision to seek a new challenge away from Milton Keynes is a legitimate interrogation.

"I don’t look at it like that, because nothing is sure," Ricciardo told Formula1.com's Tom Clarkson on the latter's Beyond the Grid podcast.

"If I stayed there the last four years, could I say I would have had more podiums than I’ve had? What have I had, maybe three or something?

"Yeah, I’m confident to say I would have had more podiums than I’ve had,” said Ricciardo, who has rejoined Red Bull in a third driver role for 2023.

"But you just don’t know. Obviously at the time I felt like it was right for me. I felt like I needed a change and I needed to kind of just remove myself a bit. If I continued [at Red Bull], would that urge have grown?

"Would I have become, let’s say, more curious or less happy, or whatever?

"It’s not a sure thing that it would have been great if I stayed. I don’t look back and say, ‘Man, I shouldn’t have [left]’.

"But, of course, I can be honest with myself and say, ‘Yeah, I took a little bit of a gamble on myself’."


Ricciardo has little to show for taking that gamble but delivering a pair of podiums to Renault and returning McLaren to the winners' circle are nevertheless achievements that he is proud of.

"I still feel like the Renault [move] was pretty good, especially 2020 – [that was] one of the best seasons I’ve driven in F1," he admitted. "To get the team back on the podium, I was very proud of that.

"But obviously the McLaren one, even with the win… the win was a high and I can’t remove that, I can’t ignore that. I can look and say, ‘I tried as well with this one [and] it didn’t quite work out’.

"You live and you learn, but I don’t look back with regret. I just say, ‘Okay, it was a challenge I took on, and it didn’t work out how I hoped'."

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