Daniel Ricciardo’s move to McLaren for next year was confirmed last month following Carlos Sainz’s move to Ferrari.
No racing has taken place in 2020 and that forced the Australian driver to make his choice for 2021 on the basis of car performance in 2019, where McLaren clearly made big steps forward compared to Renault.
"Obviously these things take time, so it didn't happen over the course of a week or two weeks," said Ricciardo during a chat with Sky Sports F1.
"I think back when I signed with Renault in 2018, I was having conversations with McLaren at the time, so I guess I kept somewhat of a relationship with the guys there.
"So, it was quite easy to reignite the conversation earlier in the year. It was a lot of thought and it wasn't an easy process, especially not having any racing and a whole lot to dictate the decision from at least this year.
"But just having the space and being out on the farm [in Australia] I certainly had no distractions so I had a lot of time to make my mind up. But not an easy one still, obviously."
"The reality is it's still not like a clear-cut decision, I guess,’’ admitted Ricciardo.
"Yes, McLaren certainly stood out last year - no mistake. They were the team on the grid who made the biggest progress, so there's the appeal with that.
"But in saying that I didn't expect us at Renault to fight for wins or podiums last year. I know that we didn't achieve what we wanted but there was still room to grow and to do that. But I guess just seeing what McLaren had done, that was probably a little bit more to convince me.
"There are arguments for and against. Time will tell if the one I've made is the right one."
With no Formula 1 since the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on December the 1st last year, Ricciardo admits he’s really missed it, how much he loves competing and wants to continue doing it for a number of years to come.
"The biggest thing I took from the time out of the seat and the time away from the racing was how much I missed it, how much I love it, and how much I want to continue to do it.’’
"There are times when it does get you down and you're like 'ah, do I want to do this for another five years or am I going to be done in a year or so?' But not having it definitely reminded me how much I miss it.
"So, it certainly fuelled me to want to stay and be successful in the sport for many years to come."
Ricciardo hopes to be pushed by Ocon and Norris
He also spoke to the F1 Podcast. The 7-time Grand Prix winner talked about facing Esteban Ocon in 2020 and Lando Norris next year – and admits he’s excited to go up against them both and hopes to be pushed like he was against Verstappen at Red Bull.
"I obviously felt that with Max [the intense competition] at Red Bull. I felt like we both lifted each other by pushing each other, and kind of being the competitors that we are.’’
"I would obviously expect that and love that from Lando. I say expect it because he had a very strong rookie year - I'm pretty sure he outqualified Carlos [11-10 to Norris], and that was quite a statement for his rookie year.’’
"I expect him to be there. I think we're both pretty easy going once the helmet's off. And people probably have a bit of fun with that, and people are going to see some good competition.’’
"And the same with Ocon this year, I've still got this year with him. I haven't raced him as a team-mate yet, but same kind of deal. I'm actually really excited to have these kind of young little ankle-biters coming at me.’’
"I'm excited to see how he goes. He's the most rusty, having all of last year off as well, so I know he's chomping at the bit to get going."