“He will think about that when he gets older”; A harsh dig at Daniel Ricciardo as a former Formula 1 manager accuses the Australian of putting money before success during his career. A corresponding development had been apparent early on in his career.
Daniel Ricciardo has left the big Formula 1 stage for the time being. After leaving McLaren, the Australian will rejoin Red Bull for the coming season. But “only” as a replacement driver behind Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez. A move that comes as no surprise to former F1 manager Mark Gallagher.
Since Ricciardo left Red Bull after the 2018 season, the Australian has been going through a “slightly turbulent time”, Gallagher told GP Racing Magazine.
In the eyes of the ex-manager, the 33-year-old is largely to blame for this himself. His accusation: Ricciardo decided in favour of money and against sporting success.
“Someone close to Red Bull and Ricciardo told me [after the 2018 season]: he cashed in, took the money and decided to take a big cheque because he won’t win the World Championship.
“Definitely not at Red Bull because Max is number one. And he also knows he’s not going to win the world championship at Renault, but [former team boss] Cyril Abiteboul paid him a bunch of money,” Gallagher said.
In a way, Gallagher can actually understand the Australian’s decision to move to Renault for the 2019 season:
“Why shouldn’t he have taken the money? When you’re approaching 30 and you realise your World Championship dream is visibly disappearing, you take the big money. And why not?!
“That secures you within a day forever.
Ricciardo would have been “better off” with another F1 team
In the end, Ricciardo may have even done a lot of things right, the ex-manager explained:
“Not only did he get that big offer and the podium finish he talked about with Cyril. He was also lured by McLaren with a big cheque afterwards.”
From a purely financial perspective, therefore, the Australian has had a “very lucrative” career, he says: “But he will feel that he never really fulfilled his potential. He will probably think about that when he gets older. From a purely sporting perspective, there would probably have been teams where he would have been better off.”
Mark Gallagher is currently the managing director of Performance Insights Ltd and was the founder and co-owner of Status Grand Prix, which won the 2009 A1 Grand Prix World Cup Motorsport and competed in GP3, GP2 and World Endurance sports car racing.
Gallagher joined Eddie Jordan’s fledgling F1 team for its debut season in 1991 as Press Officer before working with Pacific Racing and on Ford’s WRC programme before returning to Jordan Grand Prix in 1995 where he became Head of Marketing, joining the management board in 1998.
Gallagher then joined Jaguar Racing in 2004, remaining with the team when it became Red Bull Racing. He was appointed head of the Cosworth F1 engine business in August 2009.