Ricciardo: McLaren switch decision was 'not easy'
On the face of it, it is a sideways move for the Australian, who will continue to race for the works Renault team this year.
Ricciardo told the Australian grand prix Corporation podcast In the Fast Lane that he would have preferred to start the 2020 season before deciding.
"Although we didn't have a whole lot of data, not having done any races or seen any live performances, we did have a lot of alone time and a lot of time to think and digest," he said.
"Nonetheless it was not easy to come to conclusions and to figure out what's best for the future, and time will tell what was the right or wrong decision but it was all really sparked by (Sebastian) Vettel's news."
Although frustrating, Ricciardo said the long lay-off for the corona crisis was actually helpful.
"It was frustrating," he said. "But in the end, I gave my body and mind a rest, without continuous travel in pressurised cabins. It may have extended my career by a few years."
But for 2020 at least, drivers like Ricciardo will have to deal with the strict anti-corona measures at races, including mandatory testing every few days.
"I'm not looking forward to the sequel," he laughed, referring to his forthcoming Covid test. "It's really not fun and we will have to go through it a good 30 times."
Ricciardo is at least relieved that there will be a season at all, insisting that anything above ten grands prix will be enough for a legitimate world championship.
"If it was five, you could say there's something unfinished about that. But ten races or more is fine," he said.
Finally, Ricciardo was asked about speculation his former teammate Sebastian Vettel may be contemplating a sabbatical year in 2021.
"Have we ever seen anyone return from a sabbatical?" the 30-year-old wondered. "It's definitely a bit strange because Seb is still quite young."
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