Ricciardo’s dark cloud, conspiracies fester

Photo by: www.kymilman.com/f1

When a driver has six mechanical issues and eight total DNF’s during the season, it’s easy to see why he’d be frustrated, angry and feel like there is a dark cloud hanging over his head. That’s the situation Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo finds himself in after another DNF in Mexico last weekend.

As he approaches the final two races, he said he is done with this current car and has little interest. Daniel is moving to Renault next season and that’s the very power source in the back of his car. Red Bull is moving on to Honda power for 2019 and team boss Christian Horner never misses a chance to slightly jab Renault for their lack of performance as Autosport reveals:

“It feels a bittersweet victory – [it’s] fantastic for Max to have driven an outstanding race, but I’m pretty confident Daniel would have been able to hold off Sebastian over those remaining laps.

“You can understand his frustration and I hope that this dark cloud that’s following him around lifts for the final two races.”

Asked whether Ricciardo might now be regretting his move to Renault for the 2019 season, Horner added: “Only Daniel can answer.

“There’s no point broaching that with him – the decision was made, he was comfortable with the decision.

“He’s driving a competitive car that’s taken pole position this weekend and you can see the differential between where this part [the front] of the grid is and where this part [Renault] is two laps behind.”

There’s been talk of a conspiracy and that the team have purposefully scuttled his season since he made the decision to leave. I can’t imagine, as I have said about similar theories, that any team would sacrifice points because those points are worth millions to the team and F1’s is too small for that kind of conspiracy to live unrevealed. Executives jobs would be on the line if that were happening and too many employees depend on the results.

Can Dan get his head around the final two races? More importantly, how do you think he will manage if he finds a similar performance delta at Renault next year? He gambled, much like Fernando Alonso did, and time will tell if he made the right choice at the right time.

Hat Tip: Autosport

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Fred Daniell

Time will certainly tell, but I would note that RedBull are pretty secure in third place, so giving priority to Max (not scuttling Daniel) would appear logical and defendable. I would also have to say that Christian Horner this season (maybe it is just SkyF1 coverage that provides this insight) has shown to me to be the biggest diva on the grid. Say what you want about Fernando but Christian’s games to me leave Fernando in the dust. I know you get on Toto for having an opinion about everything but Christian seems to love tossing the mud! I am… Read more »

Toby S

There was a guy a few years back who had way more dnfs than there team mate with similar questions of conspiracies (I’ve totally forgotten who). I always wondered if subtle differences in driving style for instance changing gear a fraction later, or even differences in the smoothness of pressing the accelerator would have an affect on the life span of a highly tuned engine. Both drivers have a different team of mechanics and will set the car up slightly differently, so I wonder if, perhaps its just a combination of lots of tiny differences that add up to more… Read more »

Phil H

Jackie Stewart talks a lot about driving smoothly and being kind to your car so it will give you good results. He just talked about it again on the new episode of On the Grid. He is a firm believer that drivers can be harder or easier on equipment by their driving style. Also, I don’t think RBR would intentionally sabotage Dan’s car. But if there are two parts and one looks a bit sketchy, surely the good one is going on Max’s car while Dan gets the other.

Toby S

That may well be the one I was thinking of. It all fits apart from the fact that I’d have Max and Daniel on a par for aggressive style. Neither of them is a Button/Prost.

Toby S

Steve M

As a fan of Danny Ric, I don’t like seeing him pulled over on the grass…but it seems these multiple DNF’s also hit Webber when he and Seb were driving at Red Bull.


I’m a big Daniel fan, and not for one second do I believe that there is some kind of conspiracy against him because he is leaving.
Are RBR favouring Max, well yeah, they’ve always done that.


I’m with you, it’s just shit luck on his part. Same as Weber back in the day.

John Stuart

Points are not worth millions to a team when their third place in the constructor’s is already assured. In fact they are a liability – the team’s entry fee is more the following year. Please stop propagating fallacies


Conspiracies aside, the article fails to mention DR’s recent DNF was not related to the engine.

Ric Zito

I sincerely hope Daniel has made the right decision, and wipes the smirk off Horner’s face next season. I don’t believe the Renault power unit is as unreliable as RBR suggest. I suspect it has a lot to do with on-the-limit packaging and cooling in the Red Bull. It’s got to be linked to their installation, surely? The other Renault teams don’t seem to have anything like the problems that Red Bull do. Admittedly they are slower…


I really like RIC, I can’t help but think how crazy everyone thought HAM was for leaving McLaren… 5 years on and 4 champiohips later it looks like the best decision anyone on the grid at that time made. Though for McLaren to turn their project around so dramatically seems a big ask. But when your that low you can afford to take risks which may just work out as the others may play it too conservative for fear of going backwards.


Picking up where a couple other commenters have left off…
At Red Bull this year the clearly preferred driver (Max) has had all the good luck reliability-wise, while Danny’s had all the back luck. Max’s only problems have been those he brought upon himself.
Rewind a few years within the same team, and you had the clearly preferred driver (Seb) with all the good reliability luck over Webber.

An interesting coincidence happening at the same team with completely different cars and drivers. The only logical conclusion is… Horner doesn’t like Aussies?