Helmut Marko says Daniel Ricciardo succumbed to Renault’s powers of persuasion when he signed with the French team last summer and took Red Bull by surprise.
A strong start to the 2018 season led Ricciardo to believe that he would likely face a multiple choice when it came to deciding his future, a state of affairs well chronicled in the Netflix docuseries ‘Drive to Survive’ released earlier this year.
However, Marko says Netflix expected the storyline to be very different from the one that was actually depicted as it hoped the series would showcase the Aussie’s dilemma of choosing the front-running team for which he would be racing in 2019.
“The story should read that he decides in the summer whether he goes to Ferrari or Mercedes or remains with Red Bull,” Marko told Motorsport-Total.com.
“It all turned out to be very different from what he imagined, and very different from what the Netflix people wanted it to be.”
Cocky Ricciardo bet Marko €1,000 that Bottas was doomed!
After his outstanding win at Monaco, Ricciardo was so convinced of his chances of joining Mercedes that he bet €1,000 with Marko that Valtteri Bottas would depart the German squad at the end of the season.
That scenario obviously never panned out and the Honey Badger was forced to pay up.
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Multiple meetings with Red Bull took place in the early part of the summer and Marko genuinely believed that Ricciardo would remain at Milton Keynes, but discussions dragged on.
“For me, it looked like everything was fine,” Marko explained.
“We improved the offer and discussed everything he thought was in need of improvement, including personal sponsors he had from Australia, and that was a relatively long conversation.
“Then he had a meeting with [Red Bull owner] Mateschitz over the weekend, where he also more or less suggested that everything fits and he stays.
“But then there was never a signature, the contract was all done, but he kept coming up with something else: peanuts, details, always something else.
“After the Hungary test, I already guessed that it would be no more.”
In hindsight, Marko isn’t surprised that Ricciardo ultimately signed a lucrative deal with Renault, believing the 29-year-old had fallen for the manufacturer’s self-promotion and hype.
“Renault is good at that,” Marko added.
“They showed us charts over and over again, showing us how the engine will be massive next year. He will have just believed it.”
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