Daniel Ricciardo has sprung the first surprise of the summer break by signing up with Renault for the coming season. Seen against the issues his current team Red Bull are having with Renault as an engine supplier and with him complaining about being played second to Max Verstappen this year, Ricciardo’s move may not go down too well with Red Bull Racing.

On his part Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner said: “We fully respect Daniel’s decision to leave Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and we wish him all the best in his future. We would like to thank him for his dedication and the role he has played since joining the Team in 2014, the highlights of course being the seven wins and the 29 podiums he has achieved so far with us.

“We will now continue to evaluate the numerous options available to us before deciding on which driver partners Max Verstappen for the 2019 season. In the meantime, there are still nine races left in 2018 and we are fully focused on maximising every opportunity for Max and Daniel for the remainder of the season.”

Ricciardo is quoted as saying, “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.”

Renault has welcomed Ricciardo in with open arms. Cyril Abiteboul, Managing Director, Renault Sport Racing, says “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.”

Ricciardo is a Red Bull veteran since 2008, having raced in their junior team as well as for Toro Rosso before joining Red Bull Racing in 2014.

Red Bull’s lack of performance after an initial spurt this season have been well documented, including ongoing reliability issues with their Renault engines. Next season, they will have Honda power.

In the meantime, this move seems to put paid to Ocon’s reported move to Renault from Force India as well as leaving Carlos Sainz without a seat. Stay tuned for updates.

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