Daniel Ricciardo has revealed just how close he came to joining F1 powerhouse Ferrari.
The Australian, who has long been viewed as one of the best drivers on the grid, left Red Bull at the end of 2018 and has now opened up on his discussions with Ferrari.
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Ricciardo won seven Grand Prix in his time at Red Bull but by his own admission, struggled in his later years there alongside rising star Max Verstappen.
As his relationship with Red Bull soured, Ricciardo put out the feelers to see which other teams would be interested in picking him up.
The 32-year-old eventually signed with French team Renault, but has now opened up his discussions with Ferrari.
Ricciardo has been linked with Ferrari on several occasions, including when he was leaving Red Bull and more recently when he decided to depart Renault, before eventually settling on McLaren.
Daniel Ricciardo spoke to Ferrari before be moved to Renault in 2018. (Photo by FLORION GOGA / POOL / AFP)Source:AFP
“A while ago, yes,” Ricciardo told Motorsport’s Italian edition when asked if he had spoken in the past with Ferrari about the possibility of joining the Scuderia.
“But we never sat around a desk with papers to sign, nothing like that.
“There was some small talk, some quick conversations, but we never got to the point where we talked about contracts.
“So, there was something but we never got to a second step.”
Ricciardo said he seriously considered joining Ferrari in 2018, when four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel was contending for the drivers’ championship, alongside Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton.
“In my head, it was one of the options, especially when the team was fighting for the championship while Seb was there, the team was in a good position,” Ricciardo said.
“So Ferrari and Mercedes were the first two teams to be evaluated outside of Red Bull, they were the only truly desirable teams, but I always tried not to be influenced too much by emotion, knowing my Italian origins.
Ricciardo was keen on joining Ferrari when Sebastian Vettel was challenging for the championship in 2018. (Photo by Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP)Source:AFP
Ricciardo said he idolised Ferrari when he was a child and had always dreamt of driving for them, but the stars never aligned for such a move to happen.
“I have some photos of me as a child with a Ferrari t-shirt, obviously a gift from my father,” he said.
“They are a fantastic team, I respect them a lot, if mutual needs had intertwined it would have been nice.
“But I must also say that my dream was to be a Formula 1 driver one day, and I am still very happy with what I have done. and to be where I am today.”
A move to the Italian giants appeared most likely for Ricciardo at the end of last season, but they instead decided to recruit Carlos Sainz, whose McLaren seat was filled by Ricciardo.
Ricciardo is currently ninth overall in the drivers’ championship and will return to the track after F1’s summer break at the Belgian Grand Prix on 29 August.
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