Ricciardo joins Renault on two-year deal | Sports , Motor Sports

Daniel Ricciardo

The morning after the Australian sent F1 into its summer break with one of the biggest stories of the year, Ricciardo took to social media.

The Australian Formula One star's decision to sign with Renault on a two-year from 2019 stunned the motorsport world when it was confirmed he was exiting Red Bull on Friday.

But with Max Verstappen the third highest paid driver on the grid, he may have felt like the time was right to move on, because even if Red Bull were to give him a championship-winning vehicle, then they may heavily favour the young Dutchman when push came to shove.

"It is the toughest decision I have made in my racing career". Favourite for the spot is Carlos Sainz, the Toro Rosso driver who has been on loan to Renault this year but who has been strongly linked to McLaren in 2019 alongside Fernando Alonso. "But I thought that it was time for me to take on a fresh and new challenge", Ricciardo said in the statement.

Despite team boss Christian Horner claiming a new deal was close only last month, the 29-year-old has since decided to make the move to Renault.

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The promising Sainz, who like Ricciardo is a product of Red Bull's driver development programme, is one driver already looking for a seat.

Sainz's real competition from within the Red Bull ranks is Pierre Gasly who has given a good account of himself in his first full season in the top-flight.

"Renault Sport Formula One team is happy to confirm the arrival of Daniel Ricciardo to join Nico Hulkenberg as a driver starting from next season", Renault said.

Despite two race wins this season, including a victory in the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix, it's been a frustrating season for Ricciardo at Red Bull.

Red Bull meanwhile need to find a replacement for Ricciardo.

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Ever since they returned to the F1 championship in 2016, Renault have not scored a podium finish in F1.

With Red Bull's gamble to take Honda power units, their pace will be an unknown.

"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".

'Cyril Abiteboul, Managing Director, Renault Sport Racing: Daniel's signing underscores our determination to accelerate our progress towards the forefront of the sport. For Daniel Ricciardo, though, the vehicle of choice had to be a Formula One auto. Daniel's undoubted talent and charisma are a huge bonus and statement for the team.

Stoll said: "Renault chose to come back to Formula One to fight for World Championships". "We wish him all the best in his future".

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