Formula 1


How Daniel Ricciardo was reassured over fears of favouritism at Red Bull

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When new blood arrives, it’s natural for someone older to get a bit twitchy, especially when it comes to the sporting world. This has very much been the case for Daniel Ricciardo at Red Bull in the last two years.

In 2014, Ricciardo joined Red Bull from Toro Rosso hoping to establish himself as the main man. His debut campaign started well too, picking up wins at the Canadian and Hungarian GPs.

And following Sebastian Vettel’s departure at the end of that season to Ferrari, it looked like the team was going to be built around the Australian.

Nevertheless, in 2016, Max Verstappen followed in Ricciardo's footsteps by making the switch from Toro Rosso to Red Bull and was announced as his new teammate.

Since winning his maiden F1 race in his first outing alongside Ricciardo in Spain, Verstappen has continued to impress - somewhat overshadowing his teammate. And the situation hasn’t been helped by the team principal Christian Horner either.

In October last year, Horner said that Red Bull were prepared to build the team around the “phenomenal” star after he signed a new contract, keeping him with the team until 2020. Probably not what Ricciardo wanted to hear.

A number of people picked up on this, claiming Horner was showing more favoritism to his protege, particularly when just a few days later, a story surfaced that Verstappen had received an engine upgrade for the US GP and Ricciardo hadn’t. 

Ricciardo’s surprise when questioned by the media about it only fuelled the rumours of a potential rift in the team.

F1 Grand Prix of Brazil

And in an interview with Autosport, Ricciardo has revealed he was left feeling a little uncertain about his position in the team following Horner's comments but insists any potential issue has since been resolved.

"That is not what you want to hear," Ricciardo said.

"I didn't see it in the press but afterwards I found out about Christian's comment.

"It was because he actually came up to me and cleared it up.

"He said 'look, if you've seen the comments, it's not out of context but I didn't want it to come across that way'."

“He said ‘please I don’t want you to think anything like that. We’re fighting for both of you. 

F1 Grand Prix of Japan

"Max got the updated engine in the last few races, that was the only thing that has ever been different.

“I don’t have any concern with it. If I did, I would have spoken up about it already.”

Regardless, Ricciardo isn’t overly concerned whether Verstappen has a faster engine or not.

F1 Grand Prix of USA

“If I’m good enough, I’ll beat him anyway! I’m confident,” he joked. What a response.

For Red Bull, it’s now a question of whether they will renew Daniel’s contract, who could potentially take up a seat at Mercedes or Ferrari in 2019.

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Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen
Daniel Ricciardo
Formula 1

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