Ricciardo Needed To Be Sure Honda Decision Wasn’t ‘Emotional’
But while exploring all of his options and negotiating with the team would have likely caused some delays, Ricciardo has revealed he had also wanted to make sure Red Bull’s decision to swap from Renault to Honda engines wasn’t an emotional one.
“I’ve obviously heard the team out more than once and they’ve given me the reasons,” he said about Red Bull’s decision to change engine suppliers for the first time in 12 years. “The important thing to understand for me [is] why they’ve done it, it can’t just be purely on emotions.”
Ricciardo added the reason he was concerned was that things had “gone to shit” with Renault and he believed it was possible Red Bull would want to make the switch just for the sake of change. Ultimately, however, he was convinced otherwise.
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“They’ve obviously done their homework and they strongly believe that it is a good thing, not just on an emotional decision. They’ve done what they can to try and encourage me to make it happen.”
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner echoed Ricciardo’s sentiment, though he did stress the need for change. “The reality is it’s time for change,” he said. “We’ve been doing the same thing year after year, we’ve seen real progress with Honda, and it just feels the right time in our evolution to be going a different route.”
Pierre Gasly moaned about his Honda-powered Toro Rosso’s lack of pace at the most recent British Grand Prix, but when asked how this impacted Ricciardo’s faith in Honda for 2019, the Australian driver claimed Renault was struggling just as much.
In fact, on multiple occasions, his teammate Max Verstappen complained the Renault engine was costing the team a full second around the Silverstone circuit. “Tragic” was the word he used to describe the deficit to the other teams, highlighting Red Bull’s recurring frustration with Renault since the start of the hybrid engine era.
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