Renault Sport Formula One team has a new driver for next season in the shape of Daniel Ricciardo, who will be leaving Red Bull, it was announced today (Friday, August 3).
The Australian driver will team up with current driver Nico Hülkenberg and replace Carlos Sainz at the Enstone-based team.
Managing director Cyril Abiteboul said: “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, 29, has signed on for the next two seasons after seven Grands Prix wins and 29 podiums with Red Bull, which uses Renault engines.
He is already very familiar with the Renault family, having driven in Renault junior series between 2007 and 2011 and has been powered by Renault engines in F1 since 2014.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Former world champions Red Bull are yet to confirm Ricciardo’s replacement as Max Verstappen’s team-mate, while Sainz’s next team is also unclear.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner saying: “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.”’
Renault are fourth in the 2018 constructors’ championship but have not won a race since returning to the sport as a fully-fledged team three years ago when they bought Lotus.
President Jérôme Stoll said: “Renault decided to come back to Formula One to fight for world championships.
“Signing Daniel Ricciardo is a unique opportunity for the Groupe Renault towards this objective that could not be missed.
“We welcome Daniel’s arrival to our team, still in the making, but more motivated than ever.”