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Daniel Ricciardo: Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says he ‘doesn’t recognise’ ex-driver amid McLaren exit

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McLaren and Ricciardo last week confirmed a ‘mutual termination’ of his contract at the end of the 2022 season; ex-Red Bull’s F1 future uncertain; Christian Horner also gives his opinion on the Oscar Piastri saga

Last update: 08/29/22 5:23 p.m.

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says he is saddened by Daniel Ricciardo’s departure from McLaren.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says he is saddened by Daniel Ricciardo’s departure from McLaren.

Christian Horner says he “doesn’t recognize” Daniel Ricciardo as the same driver he was during his time with Red Bull, following the Australian’s “very sad” exit from McLaren.

McLaren and Ricciardo last week confirmed a ‘mutual termination’ of his contract at the end of the 2022 season – a year before completing the deal he signed when he joined the team in 2021, which leaves him without motivation for the 2023 campaign.

Ricciardo has been largely unable to keep pace with McLaren team-mate Lando Norris and has amassed 51 points less than the Briton after 14 races this season.

“It’s just very sad,” Horner said. Sky Sports F1. “Obviously I’m not close to that. I talked to Daniel a bit.

“I don’t recognize him as the same driver he was with us. He’s one of the best guys on the circuit. He definitely has that ability.

Seven of Ricciardo's eight F1 wins have come at Red Bull

Seven of Ricciardo’s eight F1 wins have come at Red Bull

“His confidence was zapped. We’re used to seeing him on the catwalk, making shoes, messing around with that big smile, and we don’t see any of that anymore.

“I hope for him that he finds an opportunity to continue his career because I think Formula 1 is better to have him in this championship than not.”

Ricciardo, 33, won seven of his eight F1 victories during his five seasons with Red Bull from 2014 to 2018.

Take a look at Daniel Ricciardo's greatest racing victories.

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Take a look at Daniel Ricciardo’s greatest racing victories.

Take a look at Daniel Ricciardo’s greatest racing victories.

After underscoring his status as the sport’s elite driver by outclassing four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel in his debut season with Red Bull in 2014, Ricciardo would go on to finish twice ahead of eventual world champion Max Verstappen after the Dutchman joined the team in 2016. .

Ricciardo frustrated with Verstappen’s growing status in the team, he left for Renault in 2019, before joining McLaren after just two seasons with the French outfit.

Ricciardo has expressed his desire to stay in F1 and has been linked with a return to Alpine (formerly Renault), alongside Haas and Williams.

Ricciardo sits down with Rachael Brookes to discuss his exit from McLaren.

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Ricciardo sits down with Rachael Brookes to discuss his exit from McLaren.

Ricciardo sits down with Rachael Brookes to discuss his exit from McLaren.

“I hope he finds a place in Formula 1, I hope he finds his mojo, because if you think back to some of the races he drove for us, winning the Monaco GP with 50% of the power, he did some amazing performances,” Horner said.

“You have to think about when he was alongside Seb. When he first came to the team, how he delivered, how obviously he was also close to Max.

Anthony Davidson says he doesn't believe Ricciardio will leave Formula 1.

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Anthony Davidson says he doesn’t believe Ricciardio will leave Formula 1.

Anthony Davidson says he doesn’t believe Ricciardio will leave Formula 1.

“We saw how close these guys were. Max has evolved since Daniel left the team, but Daniel in his time he was there, he put in unbelievable performances.

“We were sad to see him leave the team.”

‘Something is wrong with Piastri’s situation’ | “There has to be loyalty”

Ricciardo’s exit has been confirmed amid an extraordinary ongoing driver transfer saga, in which young Australian Oscar Piastri is at the centre.

Vettel’s announcement in July of his retirement at the end of the season sparked a flurry of activity as Fernando Alonso signed a contract to replace the German at Aston Martin.

Alpine have announced they will be replacing Alonso with current reserve driver Piastri, who has responded on social media saying he will not be driving for the French team next season.

Oscar Piastri is at the center of an extraordinary driver transfer saga

Oscar Piastri is at the center of an extraordinary driver transfer saga

This led to speculation that Piastri had agreed a deal with McLaren, which was all but confirmed when the team confirmed Ricciardo’s departure.

Piastri’s future remains uncertain, with Alpine continuing to claim he is legally obliged to drive for them next season. The sport’s contract recognition committee will meet on Monday to discuss the situation, with a decision expected ahead of the weekend’s Dutch GP, which is live on Sky Sports F1.

Horner admitted he was baffled by the saga and said he would be surprised if Piastri was not forced to stay at Alpine.

“I don’t quite understand because contractually it should never happen,” Horner said.

Alpine team manager Otmar Szafnauer says there is no release clause with Piastri and that

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Alpine team manager Otmar Szafnauer said there was no release clause with Piastri and “it was made up”.

Alpine team manager Otmar Szafnauer said there was no release clause with Piastri and “it was made up”.

“If Renault or Alpine have invested in his junior career, it’s because you invest in youth because you invest in it for the future, and there has to be an element of loyalty in that.

“I don’t understand contractually what’s going on there, but the fact that he’s even able to think he won’t have to drive for Alpine next year obviously shows there’s something who does not go.

“I hope it gets better. He’s another great young talent. He drove for the Arden team in Formula 4, Formula Renault, so I know him quite well and he’s a great talent who should be on the grid.”

“But there was probably a little more mess around his debut than there should be.”

Watch the Dutch Grand Prix live on Sky Sports F1 this weekend, with qualifying at 2pm on Saturday and the race at 2pm on Sunday.

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