décembre 8, 2021

F1 2021 | Daniel Ricciardo’s left Renault because he was ‘afraid’ of the team’s future, says Alain Prost

3 min read

Four-time world champion Alain Prost says Daniel Ricciardo decided to leave the Renault team for McLaren because he was « afraid » of what the team’s future held.

Ricciardo spent two seasons with Renault (now Alpine) in 2019 and 2020, but made the call to join McLaren for 2021 even before the COVID-19 delayed 2020 season had started.

Ricciardo said at the time it wasn’t an easy decision to leave Renault, having to make a call on 2021 based on form in the 2019 season.

READ MORE: Excuse Tubby won’t cop for Pakistan boycott

READ MORE: Shocking truth amid Peng Shuai saga exposed

READ MORE: Ashes twist as huge decision burns Khawaja

F1 announced in March 2020 that the proposed rule changes that were to be introduced in 2021 would be delayed until 2022, with teams to use their 2020 cars again in 2021.

The Australian’s hand was forced to a degree by the announcement that Carlos Sainz was leaving McLaren to join Ferrari, with Ricciardo saying in June 2020 that he felt the window for any move was closing quickly.

Daniel Ricciardo (Getty)

Speaking on the Australian Grand Prix’s In the Fastlane podcast, Prost, who is a non-executive director of the Alpine team, said Ricciardo was spooked by the prospect of another uncompetitive year in 2021, rather than any unhappiness with the team.

« He was a little bit afraid by the project, for sure. We had to keep the same engine, that meant almost no change to the chassis, or very little, » he said.

« We know we have a little deficit to the Mercedes engine, so it was more the project rather than the ambience.

« I read a lot about Daniel, how he’s not going to be world champion or whatever, it’s always difficult in a career to make a good choice. »

At the time Ricciardo decided to leave Renault, he’d endured a difficult first season with the team, failing to secure a single podium and finishing a lowly ninth in the world championship.

Despite that poor performance, Prost said he couldn’t fault the Australian’s approach.

« I’m very close to the drivers, you can imagine being an old racing driver, and with Daniel it was a big connection, » he explained.

Daniel Ricciardo in action for Renault at Monaco in 2019. (Getty)

« Obviously the results were not exactly what you could accept.

« Daniel was fantastic for the team, it was a dream, the ambience, never complaining, it was very good. »

The 32-year-old’s switch to McLaren hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing either, with teammate Lando Norris having the better of Ricciardo, although the Australian famously led home a 1-2 finish for the team at Monza.

Alain Prost (left) and Ayrton Senna on the podium at Adelaide in 1993, just months before the Brazilian’s death. (Getty)

Regardless, Norris has outscored Ricciardo 153-105, while the team is going through a difficult period at the moment, having scored just four points in the last three races.

« At least he’s happy, he’s in a good team, I’m surprised, I was expecting him to be much better, much quicker in the McLaren compared to Lando, » Prost said.

« But that means the different way of setting up the car could suit a driver a little bit less than the other one. It’s the normal part of life as a racing driver. »

For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!

Source link