Verstappen questions Ricciardo's Renault move
Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull Formula 1 teammate Max Verstappen has expressed doubt over the Australian's surprise decision to sign with Renault for 2019.
Ricciardo was widely expected to remain at Red Bull alongside the Dutchman, but shocked F1 by putting pen to paper on a two-year deal with the French manufacturer's works outfit instead.
While Red Bull is a regular contender for grand prix wins and podiums, Renault has not troubled the top three since re-establishing a factory F1 team, although it has made steady progress.
Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko stated that Ricciardo would find it “difficult” to feature at the sharp end with Renault, and Verstappen has now offered a similar take when asked about the move ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix.
“I think everyone was surprised, at the end of the day he has to feel good about the decision, that is the most important,” Verstappen said.
“I think everybody has moments in their careers when you are frustrated or not happy with the current situation. I think everyone here wants to win races or win championship, but sometimes it is not like that.
“You have to be really be patient and work hard for it. Sometimes you need the whole package to come together.
“That is what Red Bull is working on at the moment, and I am confident that they can deliver a car which is capable of winning every race, we just need the whole package and we are working towards that.
“That is why it was also a bit of a surprise for me that he left. A change of scenery? I am not sure it [Renault] is the best scenery to go to.”
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing, arrives in the paddock in good spirits
Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / LAT Images
Speaking about a potential move to a midfield team like Renault back in June, Ricciardo said it would have “some appeal” but wasn't “top of my list” - as getting his hands on a championship-calibre car was a priority.
But despite admitting a Renault title bid next year was not realistic, the Australian says he was convinced by the “really good signs” he saw in the team's pitch to him.
“Obviously next year, being realistic it [a championship challenge] is unlikely,” he said. “Mercedes and Ferrari are the ones doing it consistently. We [Red Bull] have been able to win some races this year but in terms of really fighting for a championship it’s hard to deny Mercedes and Ferrari, looking at next year.
“Their [Renault's] short-to-medium-term plan looked really encouraging. What they’ve done in the last two years, the progress they’ve made, encouraged me and developments made at the factory and what they are doing with their finances, where they are spending and the way they are doing it, showed me they want to win and try to get there as soon as possible.
“Obviously every team wants to win and try to make it happen but I saw some really good signs with what they showed me in the presentation.
“Also their honesty, not saying they were going to win in Melbourne next year, as much as I’d like that.
“It’s still going to be a bit of a process but a process which is moving forward pretty rapidly.”
Additional reporting by Jonathan Noble and Scott Mitchell
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