Christian Horner says Red Bull did all they could to keep hold of Daniel Ricciardo and compared his departure to the break up of a relationship.
Ricciardo will drive for Renault in 2019 after five seasons with Red Bull, who embark on a new era powered by Honda.
Pierre Gasly has been promoted from Toro Rosso to partner Max Verstappen for the forthcoming season, but team boss Horner said the original preference was to hang on to Ricciardo.
"We looked at it and I think we did everything that we possibly could to retain him," Horner told Autosport.
"He actually said this - he did the classic break-up - it's not you, it's me! And I think he just genuinely wanted to take on a new challenge.
"I think he was also probably concerned about his value with the evolution of Max and was probably uncertain about Honda at that time.
"Subsequently he's seen what we were talking about start to come to fruition.
"You always have a plan B. I think once we understood that he was serious, that that was his mindset, it was a very easy decision to come to regarding Pierre Gasly."
Horner also rejected that Verstappen had become Red Bull's number one driver.
"The number one driver in this team is the driver who is ahead on the track. That's the simple rule," he insisted.
"And there is zero favouritism in the way that we operate the team, from one driver to the other. Daniel will tell you that very openly.
"Mexico was the first time that Daniel outqualified Max since Monaco. Max's qualifying performances have been huge, and that was probably part of Daniel's decision taking for the future."
18 de enero 2019
|Tuchel confirms Rabiot out of PSG contention|
|Madrid derby kick-off confirmed for February 9|
|Benzema fit to face Sevilla despite broken finger, Solari confirms|
|Bournemouth boss Howe says no offers received for Wilson|
|Kerber cruises after Wozniacki, Sabalenka upsets|
|Mbappe a great player and great person, says beaming Beckham|
|Gracia confident someone will step up if Doucoure leaves for PSG|
|Albrighton signs new Leicester deal|
|Niasse joins Cardiff on loan from Everton|
|Hendrick credited with Fulham strike|
|Western Sydney Wanderers 1 Adelaide United 2: Goodwin compounds Wanderers woes|
|Chahal and Dhoni carry India to ODI triumph|
|Levante report Barcelona for alleged use of ineligible player in Copa del Rey|
|Solskjaer regrets Sanchez´s Reading setback|
|Tomic brands Hewitt a ´liar´ as feud continues|
|Ruthless Nadal thrashes teenager De Minaur|
|Wozniacki enjoyed status as defending champion in Melbourne|
|Solskjaer backs Mourinho to return to football´s big time|
|Murray to miss Open 13 Marseille|
|Solskjaer´s United turnaround no easy task, says Hughton|
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|How James Harden´s 2018-19 numbers compare to his MVP campaign|
|It´s insane! - Tsitsipas excited to face ´legend´ Federer|
|Sharapova ends Wozniacki title defence|
|American teen Anisimova sends records tumbling at Aus Open|
|Lakers survive Ball´s gaffe to beat Thunder in OT|
|Federer expects ´athletic´ and ´attacking´ Tsitsipas clash|
|Alcacer is fit and available – Favre|
|Fantastic Federer breezes past Fritz|
|Pogba happy with Man United approach under Solskjaer|
|Mickelson leads Desert Classic, ties career-low with 12-under 60|
|Warriors´ Durant on Curry: He´s a once-in-a-generation, once-in-a-lifetime talent|
|Patriots owner says Brady is greatest player, not just quarterback, of all time|
|Inglis to retire from representative duty this year, NRL in 2020|
|Is Beal better without Wall? Wizards star says it´s ´absolutely nonsense´|
|Rockets C Capela undergoes thumb surgery, expected back after All-Star break|
|This Week in U.S. Sports: Irving apologises, Machado´s agent isn´t happy|
|Knicks in woeful shape, but 2019 could still be bright in New York|
|Valverde not worried about Levante´s Copa appeal|
|Nowell an option for England at flanker, reveals Jones|
|Pellegrini: Arnautovic available for the right price|
|Knicks throw away 19-point lead and lose on last-second goaltending call|
|Tebow invited back to Mets´ major league spring training|
17 de enero 2019
|Canelo and Jacobs agree unification fight|
|Barcelona 3 Levante 0 (4-2 agg): Dembele at the double as Barca advance|
|Levante to lodge complaint over Barcelona Copa selection|
|Kanter´s London absence ´very unfortunate´, says NBA commissioner|
|NBA could swap London for Paris in 2020|
|Spurs coach Popovich uncertain if he will return next season|
|Pistons´ Griffin fined for verbal abuse of official|
|Everton do not have financial conditions to enter transfer market - Silva|
|Andy Cole joins Sol Campbell´s coaching staff at Macclesfield|
|Atletico confirm Saul has thigh injury|
|Wood replaces injured Stone in England squad|
|Lebanon 4 North Korea 1: Disciplinary record cruelly denies Radulovic´s men|
|Saudi Arabia 0 Qatar 2: In-form Ali bags brace as Qatar top group|
|Robertson signs new Liverpool deal|
|Vunipola backs Farrell to thrive in solo leadership role|
|People don´t know what´s going on behind the scenes - Mourinho defends United stint|
|Indefatigable Muguruza knocks out Konta at 3:12am|
|Serena coasts, difficulties for Halep and Muguruza´s marathon|
|Lowry retains Abu Dhabi lead|
|Djokovic battles past Tsonga, young guns flourish|
|Louisville airport to be renamed in Muhammad Ali´s honour|
|Emery not thinking about Ozil speculation|
|Sri Lanka hopeful over Kusal Mendis finger injury|
|Oman 3 Turkmenistan 1: Last-gasp Al-Musallami guarantees progression|
|Emery wants Cech to end career ´in a good moment´|
|Japan 2 Uzbekistan 1: Shiotani stunner seals comeback and top spot|
|Calhanoglu deal ´financially impossible´ for Leipzig|