The Aussie F1 ace will join Renault for the 2019 season
Daniel Ricciardo will leave Red Bull and join Renault for the 2019 F1 season, ending long-running speculation over the next step in his racing career.
While Mercedes and Ferrari had been touted as possible homes for the Perth-born racer, but news of the Renault switch officially arrived courtesy of Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner, who released a lengthy statement earlier today, before Ricciardo himself confirmed the move.
It’s seen by many as something of a gamble for Ricciardo, with Renault – which returned to F1 as a works team in 2016 – still some way off the pace required to really challenge for championship lead. But it’s a challenge Ricciardo says he’s looking forward to.
“It was probably one of the most difficult decisions to take in my career, but it’s time for a new challenge,” Ricciardo said.
“I realise that there is a lot ahead in order to allow Renault to reach their target of competing at the highest level, but I have been impressed by their progression in only two years, and I know that each time Renault has been in the sport they eventually won.
“I hope to be able to help them in this journey and contribute on and off track.”
Ricciardo will join Nico Hulkenberg in Renault’s top-tier team for the 2019 season, after closing out the current year with Red Bull. Horner today thanked the Australian, who currently sits fifth in the driver standings with 106 championship points, for his contribution to the team.
“We fully respect Daniel’s decision to leave Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and we wish him all the best in his future,” Horner said. “We would like to thank him for his dedication and the role he has played since joining the team in 2014, the highlights of course being the seven wins and the 29 podiums he has achieved so far with us.
“We will now continue to evaluate the numerous options available to us before deciding on which driver partners Max Verstappen for the 2019 season. In the meantime, there are still nine races left in 2018 and we are fully focused on maximising every opportunity for Max and Daniel for the remainder of the season.”