Red Bull boss Christian Horner has given his reasoning to why he believed Daniel Ricciardo left the team to become a Renault driver.
In an interview with Motorsport, Horner revealed what Ricciardo told him when he had made up his mind to leave Red Bull at the end of the 2018 season.
"As I said, he made that classic break of 'it's not you, it's me'. 'I think I really needed to take on a new challenge," revealed Horner, as per GP Blog.
Despite Ricciardo's plead to Horner, the Englishman believes the driver had a different motive for leaving Red Bull.
Horner claimed: "I think he was also worried about his value in the team in relation to the evolution of Verstappen, he was not sure at all with Honda at that time, although I think he has started to see the fruits of what we were talking about then.
"The number one driver in this team is the one who is ahead on the track, the rule is simple.
"Mexico was the first time that Daniel overcame Max from Monaco, Verstappen's performances have been huge in qualifying and it has been a difficult season for Ricciardo who has had to face the tremendous evolution of Max."
The Dutchman Max Vertsappen finished in fourth place in the Drivers' Championship standings with 249 points, including two Grands Prix wins, as well as 11 podium finishes.
Meanwhile, Ricciardo came two places behind his Red Bull teammate, also having two wins, but having stood on the podium nine less times than Verstappen.
Horner has questioned Ricciardo's decision to leave for Renault, also claiming that Red Bull tried their hardest to keep him as their driver.
“I could understand if it was to Mercedes or Ferrari, but it’s an enormous risk at this stage in his career.
“I have to admit it’s kind of been like trying to convince a girl to go out with you that’s been pretty reticent. It’s felt like that.
“We’ve bent over backwards to make it happen, but if someone’s heart’s not really in it... it’s felt like that.
“In the end we gave Daniel everything he wanted and asked for and it still wasn’t enough.”
Renault went without a winner or even a podium finish in the 2018 Formula 1 season, but will be hoping Ricciardo is the talent they need to change their fortunes.
However, it's hard to disagree with Horner's comments.
Is this really the right decision for Daniel Ricciardo's career? It is certainly an enormous risk.