Christian Horner reveals the moment Daniel Ricciardo apologised to him

How Daniel Ricciardo apologised to Red Bull boss Christian Horner after making shock decision to leave the all-conquering F1 team

  • Christian Horner has opened up on a private phone call 
  • Daniel Ricciardo contacted him to apologise 
  • Ricciardo left Red Bull for pastures new in 2018 

Daniel Ricciardo called Red Bull boss Christian Horner to apologise for leaving the team for pastures new, the team principle has revealed. 

Ricciardo, 34, left the constructors in 2018, with tensions rife over the driver hierarchy due to apparent preferential treatment towards the up-and-coming Max Verstappen.

The Aussie went on to join Renault, where he enjoyed mixed success, before a dire spell at McLaren which saw his contract ripped up a year early.

Ricciardo returned to Red Bull as a ‘reserve driver’ at the start of the year, before taking the seat vacated by Nyck de Vries at Red Bull-owned AlphaTauri for the rest of the season.

He has been linked with a return to the constructors champions for 2024, with pressure mounting on Sergio Perez, in what would represent a full circle moment for Ricciardo.

Christian Horner has revealed how Daniel Ricciardo apologised to him for leaving Red Bull

Ricciardo left the all-conquering team to be a big fish in a small pond back in 2018

And Horner has explained how a regretful Ricciardo called him during the Covid pandemic to admit he was wrong to walk out on the team. 

‘I think he recognised that he made a mistake. He had no good advice around him at the point that he left us,’ Horner said on Dax Shepard’s Eff Won podcast. 

‘Having spent a few years outside of the family he suddenly realised that, ‘Whoa, actually what I had was really good’.

‘Actually it was during the pandemic, I remember he called me and he said, ‘Christian, I hate to say this to you, but you were absolutely right, and I apologise’ and so on.’ Horner did not specify when exactly the phone call occurred. 

Horner added that Ricciardo was badly advised when he made the move to Enstone.

But he is on the verge of a Red Bull return after rekindling his relationship with Horner

‘There was an element of [spite] at the time, thinking, ‘You know what? Okay. Go and suck on the lemon for a bit’,’ Horner said. ‘He was very badly advised in his earlier career. Everybody f***s up at some point.

‘We gave Max a contract at the beginning of that year in 2018 to secure his future. Daniel, I remember being upset at the time. He suddenly felt that, ‘Hang on, I don’t want to be the support act here’.

‘I could tell he was starting to think of being a bigger fish in a smaller pond. He got a lot of noise in his ear that this is the Max show. Money (from Renault) was also on the table.’ 

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