Hot on the heels of Red Bull’s announcement that Daniel Ricciardo is leaving at the end of this season, Renault have confirmed the Aussie as their new driver.
Red Bull made a shock announcement on Friday as they revealed that Ricciardo would leave the team at the end of this campaign.
The revealation was unexpected as days earlier Ricciardo had spoken of “definitely” having a deal in place before the Belgian GP.
“It was probably one of the most difficult decisions to take in my career so far,” said Ricciardo. “But I thought that it was time for me to take on a fresh and new challenge.
“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.”
The Aussie, who is a seven-time grand prix winner, already has a relationship with Renault as they are Red Bull’s soon-to-be-ex engine supplier.
Renault’s F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul said: “Daniel’s signing underscores our determination to accelerate our progress towards the forefront of the sport. It is also a recognition of the work accomplished over the past two and a half seasons.
“Daniel’s undoubted talent and charisma are a huge bonus and statement for the team. We will have to repay his faith in us by delivering the best car possible. We welcome him to our growing team in 2019 with a great deal of pride, but also humility.”
Carlos Sainz, who had been linked to a move to McLaren, is the most likely candidate to replace Ricciardo at Red Bull but could yet face competition from Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly.