Daniel Ricciardo says his decison to walk away from Renault at the end of 2020 was not “as clear” as when he decided to leave front runners Red Bull and join the French marque two seasons ago.
Ricciardo shut the door on Red Bull at the end of 2018 despite claiming seven wins with the squad and often heralded as an equal match to hot-headed teammate Max Verstappen.
Renault enticed the interest of the Australian with bold promises of being a winning team within two years.
But following a turbelent debut season in yellow and frustration with the lack of performance, Ricciardo opted to jump ship and sign for pitlane rivals McLaren following the announcement Carlos Sainz would be promoted to Ferrari.
However, while both moves of Ricciardo have shocked the paddock, the 30-year-old has admitted the decision to leave Renault was less straightforward than his choice to walk away from Red Bull.
He also cited McLaren’s strong run of form in 2019 which saw the British outfit finish fourth in the standings as his primary motive for the switch.
“It wasn’t one deciding factor,” Ricciardo told the F1 Nation podcast.
“It was certainly different to the Red Bull situation, as far as like, I think Red Bull, it had just run its course for me personally.
“I’d been there a long time and we tried and tried and we’ve won races but not the championship, so then I was like ‘hey, I just need a change’.
“But yeah, [with Renault] I wouldn’t say it was as clear as far as like, yes, we didn’t achieve what we wanted last year, but equally, I wasn’t expecting to win last year.
“Mercedes won the championship again but it was quite clear probably to most that McLaren was the team which made the biggest step out of all.
“So that was obviously encouraging for them, and then that’s really all you can kind of base it off.”
Ricciardo spent time in Renault’s 2018 spec car earlier in the week as a part of a re-acclimatisation test at the Red Bull Ring. But he admitted the prolonged season hiatus meant his first laps felt very foreign.
“It was good to get back into it,” he said.
“The first few laps felt a little foreign but it’s like all things when you have been doing something pretty much your whole life, it doesn’t take long until you remember the feeling and it all feels very normal very quickly.”
Ricciardo will be back on track for the start of the curtailed 2029 world championship which begins with a revsied Austrian Grand Prix on July 3 – 5.