The Australian won seven races in five seasons with the Milton Keynes-based team, finishing third in the Drivers’ Championship in 2014 and 2016.
Following the arrival of Max Verstappen in 2016, however, Ricciardo felt his influence on the team in favor of the Dutch driver and opted to leave Red Bull two years later to join Renault.
Daniel Ricciardo will leave McLaren at the end of the season a year earlier than expected
‘He shouldn’t have left Red Bull, this is how it looks to me. Renault’s move was the wrong move for him,’ Brundle told Sky Sports.
‘He didn’t like being around the team what he thought’ [Max] Verstappen, which contained an element of truth. It’s played badly all the time, isn’t it?’
After an unsuccessful two-season spell with the French team, Ricciardo joined McLaren in early 2021 on a three-year deal.
The Australian scored McLaren’s first victory in nine years when he won the Italian Grand Prix last year, but was regularly outperformed by teammate Lando Norris.
Sky F1 analyst Martin Brundle believes Ricciardo has lost his mojo in the past four years
The Briton claimed Ricciardo’s four podium finishes and the pattern has continued this season, with Norris collecting 76 points in the first 13 rounds of the Australian’s season 19.
On Wednesday, McLaren announced that it has reached an agreement to move on from Ricciardo at the end of the year, ending months of speculation about his future.
Brundle suggested that Ricciardo’s suffering over the past four years must have been too painful for the 32-year-old to bear.
He said, ‘He has lost his mojo.
Ricciardo ends McLaren’s nine-year wait for F1 victory at Monza last year
‘When I see Danielle starting out of the top 10 and running out of the top 10 all afternoon, he’s not who he is and that’s not where he belongs.
‘We know she’s better than him and I find it painful to watch.
‘I can’t imagine how painful it must have been for Daniel to be in the car that was falling backwards off the ground.
‘Maybe it’s a bit of a relief all around and it’ll come back and show its mettle.’
The Australian won seven races in five seasons with Red Bull before moving into 2018
But he felt the team’s attention turned to Max Verstappen (right) after the Dutchman joined Red Bull in 2016
However, Brundle acknowledged that McLaren had made the right call by deciding to replace Ricciardo a year earlier than planned.
‘If I were McLaren, I would do the same thing because they are struggling to get the momentum and you can’t take it for the next 18 months,’ he said.
‘I would have done exactly that. How they have done it, they have made a pact, it is a tough business.’
Ricciardo is regularly outscored by his McLaren teammate Lando Norris (left)
Following news of his impending departure from McLaren, Ricciardo admitted he could take a year off from the sport, a choice that Brundle thinks may be the best course of action.
‘Daniel didn’t convince me’ […] Whether he wants to be on the grid, whether he wants to go alpine, or somewhere else,’ he added.
‘I think he potentially does, but I saw a broken man, I didn’t see ‘I’m going to win a race this year.
‘I’m going to be on the grid next year. I will show them that they have taken the wrong decision here.