Aussie Formula One great Mark Webber reveals he tried to convince Daniel Ricciardo to remain at Red Bull
The 34-year-old won seven races with Red Bull in five seasons with Red Bull before surprisingly joining Renault in 2019.
The move backfired as the French team struggled to be competitive and Ricciardo finished on the podium just twice in two seasons, before signing for McLaren.
Despite ending the Woking team’s nine-year wait for a win at the Italian Grand Prix in 2021, Ricciardo’s spell at McLaren was underwhelming and he was axed at the end of last season.
And Webber revealed he tried to convince his compatriot to remain at Red Bull back in 2018.
Mark Webber revealed he tried to convince Daniel Ricciardo to remain at Red Bull in 2018
Ricciardo won seven races with Red Bull in five seasons but left at the end of 2018 for Renault
‘I was keen for him to stay in Red Bull,’ the 46-year-old, who won nine races with Red Bull, told ITV.
‘I think he knows that all those years ago I was trying to talk him into staying.
‘But, obviously, he was keen to go to Renault at the time and then he went to McLaren. He’s had a year out and now he’s back.’
Ricciardo confirmed last week he would be driving for AlphaTauri for the remainder of the season after the team parted ways with rookie driver Nyck De Vries.
The Aussie joins on loan from Red Bull, which owns AlphaTauri, and will make his first start at the Hungarian Grand Prix next week.
Ricciardo returned to Red Bull as reserve driver this year after leaving McLaren 12 months earlier than planned following two unsuccessful seasons.
The 34-year-old vowed to remain in Formula One after being replaced by Oscar Piastri at McLaren, but failed to land a spot on the grid for this season.
But the West Australian has been handed a lifeline after AlphaTauri pulled the plug on De Vries, who failed to score a single point in 10 races this season.
The Australian endured two largely underwhelming seasons at Renault
Ricciardo had a similarly disappointing time with McLaren in 2021 and 2022
Speaking during the Australian Grand Prix in April, Ricciardo said he was only interested in driving for a top team and not for one that will require him to start from scratch.
AlphaTauri, however, are firmly at the other end of the scale and are bottom of the constructors’ championship halfway through the season.
And Webber said Ricciardo will have to hit the ground running from his first start in Hungary this weekend.
‘The stopwatch never lies, you’re either giving pressure or you’re taking pressure.
‘So now he’s back on the grid and obviously, he’s got to step up against [teammate] Yuki [Tsunoda] pretty quickly and hopefully he can perform well.’
Speaking to Formula One’s YouTube channel on Saturday, Ricciardo said he was relishing the challenge ahead, despite the fact he’s unlikely to add to his 32 Formula One podiums anytime soon.
The 34-year-old returned to Red Bull as reserved driver and will be back on the grid this weekend after replacing Nyck De Vries at AlphaTauri
‘I’m excited about it,’ he said.
‘It’s a challenge for sure to jump in and try to hit the ground running.
‘But also I guess I feel like I’ve been through a lot in the last few years where I’m not really scared of anything that’s going to be thrown my way – so I actually really do like the challenge.
‘It will be a challenge but I don’t know if I’d have it any other way.’