Daniel Ricciardo
Daniel Ricciardo will drive for Renault in 2019 and 2020. In this picture, Ricciardo of Australia and Red Bull Racing looks on during previews ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 26, 2018 in Budapest, Hungary. Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Red Bull Racing chief Helmut Marko is not happy with Daniel Ricciardo after he ditched his current employers in favor of Renault for 2019 and beyond.

It is not the move that has got him riled up but the nature in which it was executed. Marko claimed Ricciardo had held positive talks with Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz during the Austrian Grand Prix and informed them he wished to stay with the team during the race in Hungary.

The Austrian team were expecting the Australian driver to commit to a new deal before the start of the summer break at the start of August, but were in for a rude shock when Ricciardo informed Marko and Red Bull team principal he had decided to join the Renault factory team on Aug. 2.

Marko admitted the entire situation was a “strange” one and believes it could be one of two reasons for him to switch teams — especially to Renault, who are not title contenders and are unlikely to be for at least two more years.

“I don’t understand it,” Marko told Austrian broadcaster Servus TV, as quoted on Planet F1. “It was a very strange situation anyhow. … The negotiations were difficult but Wednesday before the Austrian Grand Prix we were talking for two hours and came to an agreement. During the weekend, we were talking and renegotiating again.”

“In Hungary, he told Mr [Dietrich] Mateschitz and me that he was okay with everything and that he was going to sign during the [Hungarian GP] test on Tuesday. But he didn’t,” he explained. “On Thursday, he then called and told me he was going to Renault. I can only assume that maybe he doesn’t believe in the Honda project or that Renault offered him a lot of money.”

Marko, however, reserved praise for Ricciardo as a driver and admitted it was a “pity” that Red Bull could not retain his services for 2019. The Australian is considered to be among the best drivers in F1 at the moment, but when it comes to overtaking, he is probably the best there is on the current roster.

“Including his time in the junior programme he has been with Red Bull for 10 years,” Marko said. “He said he needed a change of surroundings. I can understand that, but it’s a pity because he is one of the strongest drivers.”

“His overtakes are great. They come out of nowhere and sometimes his opponents don’t even realize they are being overtaken.”

Ricciardo will have nine races left with the Red Bull team when the season resumes at the Belgian Grand Prix on Aug. 26. He is keen to end his stint with the team on a high and is hoping his win in Monaco will not be his last in 2018.