Daniel Ricciardo is leaving Red Bull at the end of the season to join Renault
In July, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said the Australian, who is out of contract at the end of the season, was close to signing a new deal. It was thought Ricciardo was wanted by leaders Mercedes and Ferrari, but it appears he will now pen a deal with Renault instead.
Ricciardo, who has won in China and Monaco this year, is supposedly fed up with living in the shadow of his fellow teammate Max Verstappen, who is tipped to be the next star of Formula One.
Ricciardo’s proposed switch to Renault would come as a huge surprise, especially given Red Bull’s problem with their engine this year.
— Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) August 3, 2018
His switch could mean Carlos Sainz moves from Renault to McLaren.
“It was probably one of the most difficult decisions to take in my career so far, but it was time for me to take on a fresh and new challenge,” said the 29-year-old.
“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.
“Each time Renault has been in the sport they eventually won. I hope to be able to help them on this journey and contribute on and off track.”
Team principal Christian Horner said in a statement, “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.”
Team-mate Max Verstappen was given a lucrative new contract last autumn.
It made the 20-year-old Dutchman the third best-paid driver in F1 behind Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari, earning more than the $25m salary McLaren pay to two-time world champion Fernando Alonso.
Ricciardo is fifth in the drivers’ championship with two wins this season and has finished ahead of Verstappen in both their seasons as team-mates, however, is still 95 points behind the leader Lewis Hamilton.