Daniel Ricciardo says he did have discussions with Ferrari over a possible move to the Italian Formula One team before opting for McLaren.
Ricciardo is of Italian descent and has long been considered an obvious target for Ferrari, the sport's oldest and most glamorous team.
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In the end, Ferrari chose McLaren's Spaniard Carlos Sainz as replacement for four times world champion Sebastian Vettel alongside Charles Leclerc for 2021.
“There have been discussions already from a few years back. And that continued all the way through to now,” Ricciardo, 30, told CNN Sports on Thursday.
“I won't deny that. But obviously it's never really come to fruition.
“I don't know actually and I've never really chosen to dive too deep into it,” added Ricciardo on the reasons why.
“Everyone says it would be a good fit, obviously, with my name and all the background stuff but, yeah, I try not to get emotionally caught up in any kind of situation.”
Ricciardo recognised Sainz, 25, was a good fit for Ferrari and described the Spaniard as “a bit of a hot property right now”.
Sainz finished last season sixth overall, the highest placed driver from outside the top three teams.
Ricciardo, a seven times race winner with Red Bull, had a difficult season at Renault with a best result of fourth last year.
He said there was not one event that triggered his decision to move to McLaren.
“There wasn’t any moment which was like a light bulb and said, ‘Yes, that's what I need to do.’
“Equally, there wasn't something I saw in McLaren which created that or there wasn't something in Renault which created the moment of ‘I have to move on.’
“The discussions with McLaren go back to even before, I guess, 2018, and I guess continued over time.”
British Grand Prix delayed until August
Meanwhile, the British Grand Prix is expected to be pushed back to August as Formula One prepares to unveil an eight-race European schedule to get the delayed 2020 season under way.
Silverstone had been looking to host back-to-back races behind closed doors in mid to late July after the season begins with a double-header at Spielberg in Austria on July 5 and 12.
But the PA news agency understands the proposed calendar instead includes the Hungarian Grand Prix on July 19 before races at Silverstone on August 2 and August 9.
There have been question marks over the British races after the government announced new quarantine rules which are due to come into force on June 8, requiring people arriving into the UK from overseas to isolate for 14 days amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
An exemption for those involved in professional sporting events has been proposed, as well as ‘air-bridges’ allowing travel from selected countries, but nothing has yet been confirmed.
By pushing the proposed racing back into August there is more time for a resolution to be found.
After a British double-header, further races could follow in Spain on August 16, Belgium on August 30 and Italy on September 6.
The finalised European calendar is expected to be announced next week.
Earlier on Thursday, it was announced that the return of the Dutch Grand Prix - due to take place this year for the first time since 1985 - will not happen until 2021 due to the pandemic.