For the first time in his Formula 1 career, Daniel Ricciardo will drive for a team other than Red Bull Racing, that too a manufacturer outfit Renault from 2019 season onward.
After months of waiting, Ricciardo finally announced his plans for the new season, signing a two-year deal with Renault, thereby ending a 10-year relationship with Red Bull which started way back in 2008 when he joined the programme.
He will pair up with Nico Hulkenberg in the yellow and black liveried car, replacing Carlos Sainz. He termed his decision as the ‘toughest’ of his whole life and not just of his F1 career, but then he is also excited by the prospect of joining a manufacturer team.
“The news is out, it’s real,” he said. “By far the toughest decision I’ve made in my racing career – but 29 years living on this Earth, it was actually one of the toughest live decisions I’ve made. Sad to move on, absolutely.
“Excited for the challenge at Renault, but it’s been a 10-year journey in Red Bull. I was on the junior programe in 2008, some amazing memories from there, things that I’ll always be grateful for and I’ll never forget that ride.
“Personally I felt it was a time now where it was good for me to move on and have a fresh start somewhere else, I think it will be healthy for me. Excited for what lies ahead with Renault.
“But just want to thank Red Bull Racing, Red Bull the company, for everything they’ve done for me. I really appreciate it, from the bottom of my heart, and we’ve got nine races left to kick some arse, so let’s get it,” he added.
— Nico Hülkenberg (@HulkHulkenberg) August 3, 2018
The Australian’s decision will cause for a domino affect as Red Bull look to replace him with either Sainz and or Pierre Gasly alongside Max Verstappen. It will be a big decision for them to make while the rest of teams will also keep an eye on how it plays out.