Daniel Ricciardo has explained the reasons behind his decision to quit Red Bull in favour of a move to Renault for the 2019 Formula 1 season.

Ricciardo set off a chain reaction of shock driver announcements during F1’s summer break when he confirmed he would be leaving Red Bull once his contract expires at the end of the year to join Renault next season.

The move caught Red Bull off guard, with the Milton Keynes-based squad expecting Ricciardo to agree a fresh deal with the team, only for the Australian to have a change of heart and instead sign for current midfield leaders Renault.

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When facing the media for the first time since the announcement ahead of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, Ricciardo denied he had suffered a relationship breakdown with Red Bull and insisted there was not one standout factor that had influenced his decision.

“To be clear, there was no falling out, no bad blood with anyone in the team, with the bosses, or anyone at all,” Ricciardo said.

“I know the contract stuff, people assumed I was pretty much done with Red Bull and ready to sign but I think I’m pretty sure I said I was close to doing something but I never really said it was going to be 100 percent with Red Bull.

“There wasn’t anything which changed overnight which caused this decision. That’s pretty much where it was. There was back and forth over the last few months and in the end the deal on that, we’d all come to a happy place with it so then it was just up to me. I never said I was unloved, that wasn’t the case.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner suggested the decision was swayed by a fear of playing a supporting role to teammate Max Verstappen, but Ricciardo stressed “hand on heart there was never any concern around that”.

Instead, Ricciardo admitted he had started to become frustrated on a personal level and felt a change of scenery was required to prevent him from becoming disillusioned with the sport.

“There wasn’t really one key factor other than really myself and wanting to have a change of scenery,” he explained. “That was probably the biggest overpowering thing but it wasn’t necessarily the engine deal or financials or whatever.

“I felt at times my enjoyment of the sport was becoming a little bit dulled-down and a bit numb at times. I just felt part of the routine was causing that. I’m still discovering myself and life and it’s changing pretty rapidly.

“How I thought 12 months ago is not how I think now. I think partly that sort of process and a little bit of the routine was something I felt was having a little effect on me,” he added.

“I obviously took my time with it, by no means an easy decision at all and I just felt I just got to a point where I felt I was ready for a change, ready for a new challenge and I think just for me personally just some fresh motivation.

“There were a few sleepless nights for sure trying to come to the best conclusion for myself. When I made that decision and pulled the trigger I felt very comfortable about it. It feels right moving forward for next year.”

 

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