Daniel Ricciardo leaves Red Bull for Renault
Daniel Ricciardo will leave Red Bull at the end of 2018 it has been announced.
After 10 years at the team, Ricciardo will join Renault for the 2019 season in a shock decision.
With things winding down for the summer shut down, Red Bull like all others were geared up for a bit of R&R as the news came that the popular Aussie driver had quit.
Speculation had been mounting for several weeks as Ricciardo stalled in making his decision. With the door closing at Mercedes as they retained both drivers, it looked that Riccardo would remain at Red Bull for another season at the very least.
In explaining his reasons for leaving Ricciardo said, " I thought that it was time for me to take on a new challenge."
Ricardo has been part of Red Bull since 2008 when he joined as a junior driver and then transitioned through Toro Rosso to the main seat at Red Bull in 2014. In that time he has earned many accolades and even won Grand Prix, but after 10 years, it seems that he needs some new grass.
Renault are currently 4th in the constructor standings with 82 points, whilst RedBull are third with a massive 223 points.
The move for Ricciardo may well be a step back to move forward in the long run. We have seen other driver's make unexpected decisions like Ricciardo, such as his former team-mate Sebastien Vettel, who moved from Red Bull to Ferrari as the defending champion.
Ferrari looked to be the weaker of the two teams, but here we are in a constant tussle between Mercedes and Ferrari as Vettel battles for a world title against current champion Lewis Hamilton.
Riccardo too realises this. He comments regarding Renault's potential, " I realise that there is a lot ahead in order for Renault to reach their target of competing at the heights levels but I have been impressed by their progress over the last two years."
Whilst Ricciardo's decision maybe surprising he remains a popular driver at Red Bull as was evident at their celebrations in Monaco only a few months ago.
Boss Christian Horner commented of Ricciardo's departure saying, "We fully respect Daniel’s decision to leave Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and we wish him all the best in his future."
Renault's driver line-up is set as Daniel will partner Nico Hulkenberg when he joins, but this leaves Red Bull continuing to "evaluate the numerous options available" to them.
Carlos Sainz, who was in essence on loan to Renault,may well take his seat at Red Bull or McLaren.
It's summer but not as we know it and as the shut down happens, there are more questions left unanswered. This will be a long break for those drivers caught in the Ricciardo ripple.