Never Say Never as Alonso Refuses to Close Door on F1

Red Bull powerbroker Helmut Marko has accused Daniel Ricciardo of misleading the organisation about his future

However, the gap to the top three teams - Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull - remains a large one.

Formula 1's off track dramas have continued in the built-up to the Belgian Grand Prix this weekend with a row erupting between outgoing McLaren driver Fernando Alonso and Red Bull boss Christian Horner. "This year, particularly the first part of the year, I guess up until Monaco, was an wonderful start for me, so many positives".

"Right now, I am thinking it is goodbye", he said.

"To be clear, there was no falling out, no bad blood or anything with anyone in the team - with the bosses or anyone at all".

"There's been times when I've thought, "This is why [2016 world champion Nico] Rosberg retired", and he had it a lot more intense than me".

"It was nothing to do with the driver decision", said Abiteboul.

The Aussie F1 star faced the press yesterday for the first time since dropping the bombshell he would be joining Renault in 2019, telling reporters he was "ready for a new challenge".

"It wasn't necessarily the engine deal or finances".

Speaking about a potential move to a midfield team like Renault in June, Ricciardo said it would have "some appeal" but was not "top of my list" as getting his hands on a championship-calibre vehicle was a priority.

"And the F1 we're seeing now was maybe not the F1 I dreamed of as a kid or when I joined in 2001".

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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.

'That sounds easy saying it like that - it wasn't.

"I am sure for some other drivers if they look outside they will find bigger challenges than the ones they have now here". Instead, the Australian claims decision was made because of the lack of motivation.

Red Bull are switching to McLaren's former partners Honda next year and Alonso had been strongly critical of the Japanese power units during their time together.

Red Bull picked Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly to replace Ricciardo, having opted to stick to its policy of promoting its own talent. Personally I felt it was good for me to have a fresh start somewhere else, I think it will be healthy.

"I prefer to take my own decision and take new challenges that Formula One can not offer me at the moment".

"One at Monaco and one in August, so I'm glad you asked me this question, because Christian's comments this summer are out of context. I don't want go back and forth with this - I have better things to do". They are a winning team and I came into the team when they had just won four world titles in a row so naturally there's always something inside you that you expect to win. "That was a very odd story", Marko said on the Red Bull's in-house TV channel, Servus TV.

Red Bull powerbroker Helmut Marko has accused Ricciardo of misleading the organisation about his future.

"He spent most of his career at Red Bull and told me he wanted a change, that's right".

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

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