Renault’s telling silence over Daniel Ricciardo bombshell

Andrew Reid
·3-min read
Seen here, Renault F1 team boss Cyril Abiteboul and Daniel Ricciardo.
Renault F1 team boss Cyril Abiteboul failed to mention Daniel Ricciardo after addressing his exit. Pic: Getty

Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul failed to mention Daniel Ricciardo after making a bizarre statement in the wake of the Aussie's decision to quit the F1 team.

Ricciardo created waves in the motorsport world on Thursday after confirming that he will leave the French manufacturer and race for McLaren in 2021 and beyond.

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The 30-year-old, winner of seven races for Red Bull, will partner British driver Lando Norris and replaces Spaniard Carlos Sainz who will join Ferrari as four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel's replacement.

The news was initially confirmed by McLaren, before Renault released a statement explaining the situation.

"Within the unprecedented context of the 2020 season, discussions held with Daniel Ricciardo concerning a renewal of his contract beyond the end of 2020 have not been successful," the statement read.

Renault's F1 team chief then spoke about the bombshell development, failing to acknowledge Ricciardo or wish the Aussie good luck after stressing the importance of "unity and commitment".

"In our sport, and particularly within the current extraordinary situation, reciprocated confidence, unity and commitment are, more than ever, critical values for a works team," Abiteboul said.

"I am confident that the 2020 season will allow us to accomplish even more together.

"Our ambitions and the strategy of Renault DP World F1 Team remain unchanged."

Renault gave no indication of who might replace the popular Australian, although media speculation has suggested double world champion Fernando Alonso could make a comeback with the team that took him to his titles in 2005 and 2006.

F1 experts say Ricciardo didn’t seem happy at Renault

Sky Sports F1 commentator Martin Brundle says while Ferrari would have undoubtedly been a strong move for Ricciardo, he believes the Aussie just needed to leave Renault.

"Daniel has parked himself at Renault and I don't feel he's ever really looked happy there. It hasn't fitted,” he said. “I don't think it's what he wanted, he took a bit of flak for it, and he would be a perfect fit for Ferrari as well I believe. I'm sure they've considered all options.

"But, equally, a McLaren with a Mercedes engine for 2021, they'll make him feel loved there, they'll make him feel important, and he's still got it. He's got the speed, he's got the race craft, he's very experienced.

“He hasn’t enjoyed it there (at Renault). I barely remember seeing Daniel through last season. We used to see him all the time with that big flip-flop smile but for some reason it just didn’t work for him there.

“The car didn’t play on his speciality of last of the late-brakers.

Pictured here, McLaren's Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo will be teammates in 2021.
Ricciardo will team up with Lando Norris at McLaren in 2021. Pic: Getty

“It’s a bit of a sideways move but Daniel has obviously seen something at Renault that doesn’t fill him with confidence into the future.”

Brundle's Sky Sports colleague David Croft agrees, insisting Ricciardo's partnership with Renault simply "hasn't worked". writer Lawrence Barretto said the fact Renault appeared to be stagnating while McLaren seemed very much a team on the up, made it an easy choice for Ricciardo.

“Ricciardo was left with a choice. Wait until the racing starts and see if Renault were a step forward in reality, or head to a team he knows really want him and are already showing they’re on the move,” Barretto wrote.

“Ultimately, Ricciardo couldn’t afford to take another risk on Renault, despite them being a manufacturer with a healthy budget and impressive facility. In his mind, that could be the end of the line for him in F1. He realised this could be his last big move.”

with AAP