Daniel Ricciardo has revealed his frustration on last year’s driver market after he was snubbed by both Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport and Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow.
Renault F1 Team‘s newest recruit was linked to drives with both Mercedes and Ferrari in his final year of his contract with Aston Martin Red Bull Racing.
But the Australian opted for Renault on a two-year deal, with Ferrari and Red Bull bringing in young drivers like Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly. Mercedes decided to keep Valtteri Bottas on for another year.
On Natalie Pinkham‘s Podcast: In The Pink, Ricciardo was asked whether he felt frustrated over Ferrari and Mercedes signing drivers instead of himself.
“Yes – to answer it bluntly,” said Ricciardo. “At the end of the day in the next 12 months I still think, and everybody would say this, that Mercedes and Ferrari are going to be the teams to beat.
“Maybe other teams could take a win here or there, but I think they’re still the teams to be with short term.”
Although Ricciardo is excited to start a new chapter of his career with Renault, he thought he would have more options for 2019 after winning two of the six opening races of the 2018 season.
“Especially after the first six races, I won two out of six, so it was Seb, Lewis and me who had won two each. At that stage no one else was really touching us.
“I felt like my pull, so to speak, couldn’t have been any higher. In a way, I did expect probably more out of that, and at the time I think rightly so.”
Ferrari opted to replace Kimi Räikkönen with rookie sensation Leclerc, after spending one season with Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team. Ricciardo says he respects Ferrari’s decision to bring in the young Monegasque driver, claiming that was ‘about time’ they brought in a young driver through.
“He’s a young up and coming prospect, and maybe that was part of their plan all along, regardless of what my results were and what his results were,”
“With what Ferrari have done, I see it and I respect that because I’ve seen Red Bull do it, bringing the young kids through the programme. In a way, I think it’s about time.”
The reigning world champions Mercedes are one of two teams to have stuck with their line-up from the previous season, keeping both Lewis Hamilton and Bottas on for another year. The Finn was kept on for a third year at the team despite having no recorded a win in 2018.
Ricciardo felt that he should have been a strong contender for a seat at Mercedes for 2019.
“I guess the Mercedes one is probably a bit of a different situation,” he said. “It’s a slightly different dynamic with the path they’ve chosen.
“I guess for them it’s more conservative, but I can’t argue because it’s worked. Lewis has won Drivers’ Championships and the team has won Constructors’ Championships, so in a way they’ve ticked all the boxes they need.”