Daniel Ricciardo To Leave Red Bull For Renault
Graham Read, Formula 1 Correspondent
Formula 1 is currently in its summer break period, but yesterday afternoon we witnessed one of the most surprising moves in the driver market for a long time as the Renault team announced that Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo would be joining them next year.
It’s a move which no-one saw coming and I had to read the press release which dropped into my inbox twice to make sure I hadn’t misread it. Australian Ricciardo, one of the most likeable characters in the F1 paddock, was expected to extend his Red Bull contract after the possibility of a move to Mercedes or Ferrari waned, but instead he has signed a two year deal with Renault, apparently worth around £20m a year.
Ricciardo explained his reasoning behind the move, saying “It was probably one of the most difficult decisions to take in my career so far. But I thought it was time for me to take on a fresh and new challenge”. The Renault works team is well funded and has aspirations to continue its climb towards the front of the Formula 1 grid, which can only be helped by a strong pairing of Ricciardo and current driver Nico Hülkenberg.
This surprise move has ramifications for the F1 driver market as it leaves a highly desirable vacant seat at Red Bull from next year and existing Renault driver Carlos Sainz will be surplus to requirements at the French team. The favourite to join Red Bull is young French driver Pierre Gasly, who currently drives for the team’s sister outfit Toro Rosso. Red Bull has a history of developing and promoting its own talent and Gasly has impressed this season. Sainz cannot be ruled out though, even if he is understood to have been having discussions with McLaren about joining them next year.
One thing for sure is that after Red Bull team principal Christian Horner got over the shock of Ricciardo’s announcement his phone will not have stopped ringing as one of the top six drives in Formula 1 has suddenly and unexpectedly become available!
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Daniel Ricciardo To Leave Red Bull For Renault, 4th August 2018, 11:00 AM