Ricciardo’s move to Renault has come as a shock to everyone, but maybe that is why they call it the ‘silly season’.
The Australian had been stalling his contract extension all through the season until now, and with both Ferrari and Mercedes more or less settled with their driver picks for 2019, Ricciardo admitted that those ‘big team’ offers did not exist.
The talk around the paddock suggested that Red Bull had tied down Ricciardo for at least two more years and a deal was scheduled to be announced over the summer.
And a deal has now been announced, but Red Bull aren’t a part of it.
Renault have bagged the services of the Australian and he will be partnering Hulkenberg next season.
— Renault Sport F1 (@RenaultSportF1) August 3, 2018
Ricciardo too has released a statement about his move to Renault, emphasing on the fact that he needed a fresh challenge in the sport.
“It was probably one of the most difficult decisions to take in my career so far. 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.” Ricciardo said.
Renault would be heavily buoyed by this Ricciardo switch, as Daniel is one of the most talented drivers on the circuit, and does possess championship pedigree.
Did the Honda switch play a large role in Ricciardo moving on from Red Bull?