Ricciardo shocks F1 with Renault switch 03 | 08 | 2018

    AUSSIE DANIEL RICCIARDO has shocked Formula 1 by confirming he will join Renault from 2019; the current Red Bull driver has signed a two-year deal. The seven-time grand prix winner will partner Nico Hulkenberg, with Carlos Sainz leaving the French team. (Related: Ricciardo wins dramatic Chinese GP)

    "It was probably one of the most difficult decisions to take in my career so far,” Ricciardo said. “But I thought that it was time for me to take on a fresh and new challenge.

    “I realise 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."

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    And the 29-year-old was welcomed by Cyril Abiteboul, managing director, Renault Sport Racing.

    “Daniel’s signing underscores our determination to accelerate our progress towards the forefront of the sport,” the Frenchman said. “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’s dramatic switch to Renault comes just days after Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen’s Hungarian Grand Prix was halted by another problem with the Renault engine in his car.

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    Today, Red Bull boss Christian Horner thanked Ricciardo for his time with the team.

    "We fully respect Daniel's decision to leave and we wish him all the best in his future,” Horner said. “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."

    Related: Hamilton dominates Hungarian GP

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    Jim McGill

     

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