Daniel Ricciardo says making an early decision to switch to McLaren for next season before a wheel had been turned in anger in the current Formula 1 campaign was “weird”

The Australian will leave Renault after two years at the end of the season to join McLaren as the Ferrari-bound Carlos Sainz’s replacement for 2021.

After the COVID-19 pandemic had forced the opening 10 races to be called off, and with his contract expiring at the end of the year, Ricciardo faced the bizarre prospect of making a decision over his future before knowing the true pecking order for 2020.

Speaking in an F1 Instagram live, Ricciardo admitted the complicated situation made coming to a final outcome “not easy”.

“Having the time to think about things like the future was good, but then it also was not easy because you’ve got all this time but not much action - that was certainly difficult,” he explained.

“The whole year has been crazy for things even beyond coronavirus now. Making these decisions with only testing to go by this year, that wasn’t easy. Ideally you’d like to get going, race and make your mind up but we’re not in those times with that luxury. 

“It it was not easy, not an overnight decision. I guess I would just say this whole year has been weird and continues to be weird.” 

The heavily-delayed 2020 season will finally get underway next month with the Austrian Grand Prix on 5 July, which kicks off a run of eight races across Europe in the space of just 10 weeks.

Ricciardo is raring to get going and said he is determined to end his tenure at Renault on a high note before completing the switch from Enstone to Woking over the winter.

“That’s the big relief for everyone, when they announced the official start date. It was like ‘we can see the end of the tunnel’ and we can get going," he said. 

“I want to finish this journey and chapter with Renault off in the best way possible. I still feel like I owe a lot to them on and off track, so I’m glad we can compete soon and do what I can.”

 

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