Abiteboul: Ricciardo believes in Renault project

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But earlier this month Red Bull boss Christian Horner described Alonso as a disruptive influence and ruled out the Spaniard replacing Ricciardo while Red Bull have told reporters they didn't make an approach for the 37-year-old. "I think Honda is progressing".

Grand Prix racing was stunned when Ricciardo revealed his move - but Ricciardo said it was vital the world realised there was more to him than smiles and shoey celebrations.

He added: "I never said I was unloved [at Red Bull], that wasn't the case". Max is growing stronger and stronger and I think Daniel has decided the timing is right for him to check out and try something else ...

Hamilton, who was Alonso's team-mate at McLaren in 2007 when they tied on points and number of wins, added: "He has been arguably the best driver I have ever driven against and I wish him all the best". I could always understand that it would be a hard decision to decide to move from Red Bull to anywhere else, first, and from Red Bull to join us.

"But I don't think he was impressed by Red Bull's communications strategy, vis a vis Renault, vis a vis Honda, and how ideal Honda is". I don't really care.

I know a lot of people are probably like "I don't know", but I feel comfortable within myself and the decision I've made.

Red Bull was caught unawares by Ricciardo's decision, having gone into the summer break assuming an extension was simply a formality at that point.

"What I appreciate is the fact that Daniel has his position, he has his agenda, he has his situation, which I don't want to comment on", Abiteboul told Motorsport.com. "That was a very unusual story", Marko said on the Red Bull's in-house TV channel, Servus TV. While Ricciardo didn't directly address those claims, he admitted he did have one regret when it came to telling his bosses he was going to leave.

Gasly is in only his first full season in Formula One, but, after quietly impressing for Red Bull's junior team Toro Rosso, he will now drive alongside Max Verstappen for the senior outfit next term.

"On Thursday, he then called and told me he was going to Renault".

He said the decision had been a long time coming, rather than one made in the spur of the moment.

Abiteboul suggested that Ricciardo's decision to leave Red Bull could at least in part be down to doubts over his current team's decision to change engine provider in 2019.

And it has also emerged that Dr Helmut Marko has said this week that Alonso "doesn't fit" with the Red Bull team. "For me it's bye-bye, but who knows in the future?"

"[Ricciardo] has also been sold a role that goes beyond that of a simple pilot, but that of someone who participates in building a team", said Abiteboul.

"Frankly we don't think like that", he stated.