Daniel Ricciardo labelled 'SELFISH' by disgruntled ex-team principal

Daniel Ricciardo labelled ‘SELFISH’ by disgruntled former team principal as Aussie star is accused of making ‘poor decisions’ throughout his Formula One career

  • Daniel Ricciardo has been criticised by his former boss 
  • Ricciardo left Renault for McLaren in 2020 
  • Cyril Abiteboul says Ricciardo’s decision was ‘a little bit selfish’

Daniel Ricciardo has been described as ‘a bit selfish’ for leaving Renault for McLaren, with his disgruntled former team principal lamenting the Aussie’s ‘poor decisions’ throughout his career.

Ricciardo, 34, is desperate for a return to Formula One’s top teams after leaving Red Bull for Renault in 2018, the Perth-born star frustrated with perceived favourable treatment for Max Verstappen.

He registered two podium finishes in his first year with Renault and finished fifth in the championship but left the French team after his second season for an ill-fated spell with McLaren.  

He was dropped by the team last year but has found his way back onto the grid with AlphaTauri, and rumours are rife that he could replace Sergio Perez in 2024.

But reflecting on his decision to leave Renault, former boss Cyril Abiteboul described his old star as ‘a bit selfish’ and admitted he took his exit personally. 

Daniel Ricciardo has been labelled ‘a bit selfish’ by his former team boss

Ricciardo shocked Renault after leaving the French team for McLaren in 2020

‘He makes his decision in April or May, the world is at a standstill, we don’t know how we’re going to get back on track, if we’re going to get back on track,’ Abiteboul recalled in the podcast, translated from French to English by Planet F1.

‘In fact, I think it’s a very early move, a bit selfish – because in the end, it will have given the team just one season’s chance, and so it’s true that it’s a decision that I’m taking badly. Badly.

‘I can see that it’s a personal rejection,’ he said.

‘I take it completely personally. I accept it. And I can see what the consequences are going to be, too.’

Abiteboul added that Ricciardo’s decision was made in haste, with Christian Horner previously claiming the Aussie had been badly advised when he left Red Bull.  

‘The team was in the process of structuring itself and getting organised. We’re making progress, but that means we’re not at Red Bull’s level,’ Abiteboul said.

‘He came from the standard environment, Red Bull, and so inevitably there was a feeling of being demoted. It was difficult for him psychologically. In 2019, the Baku Grand Prix was absolutely horrendous, with him making mistake after mistake. In short, he’s completely out of his depth, and that’s complicated for us.

Cyril Abiteboul says he took the decision ‘personally’ and expressed his regret

‘I didn’t think it would be this difficult in 2019 and, conversely, I didn’t think that in 2020 there would be Covid, a global pandemic that would block us, and during which he would decide to end his contract at the end of the year.

‘And I don’t see it happening either that we (would) have such a good year in 2020, all the same, with podiums and a car that once again, by making a few less mistakes, could (have finished) third in the standings.

‘I don’t think (Ricciardo) could have imagined the car making such progress, and neither could we. I can also understand his strategy. McLaren sold him a bit of a bill of goods to get him, but that’s part of the game. Ricciardo always has a timing problem; he left us too early and he left McLaren too early.’

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