Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Hungaroring, 2018

Ricciardo: Leaving Red Bull for Renault “one of the most difficult decisions I’ve taken”

2019 F1 season

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Daniel Ricciardo said his decision to leave Red Bull and join Renault for next year is one of the hardest choices he has faced in his career.

The 29-year-old’s career has been backed by Red Bull since 2008, when he became a member of its junior team. He has won seven Formula 1 races for the them since joining their top F1 team in 2014.

Earlier today RaceFans revealed he will leave Red Bull to join Renault for the 2019 F1 season, a move which has since been confirmed by both parties.

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

Ricciardo’s departure from Red Bull means he will continue to use Renault engines. The manufacturer revived its full factory F1 team at the end of 2015.

“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,” he added.

“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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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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56 comments on “Ricciardo: Leaving Red Bull for Renault “one of the most difficult decisions I’ve taken””

  1. This is such a brave move from Ricciardo. Given the amount of resources Red Bull have, the quality of their staff and the amount of investment Honda is putting into F1 they may well come right eventually.

    Ricciardo/Hulkenberg is such a strong line up for Renault though, a real cracker. Hulkenberg will surprise a few people, he is such a good grand prix driver and is far quicker than many give him credit for. if he performs well alongside Ricciardo, it’ll do his career no harm at all.

    1. I have to agree with you here. My first thought when I read the news of Ricciardos move was that he could loose from the move. I rate Hulkenberg higher then where he is driving and Ricciardo could have a hard time with him. I think this Ricciardo move could be a good thing for Hulkenberg. Ofcourse they can become a good pairing but Ricciardo must really think he is a lot better then Hulkenberg. I mean Sainz is gone and he was short to close on Verstappen like Ricciardo short to close to Verstappen. For me Hulkenberg out preforms Sainz this year and he has the current standings to show that for. Then ofcourse I can understand the difficulty Ricciardo was in with Red Bull and he might be in a better position to be in front of the points to Verstappen, but Hulkenberg will give him a run for his money.

  2. I think it’s a good decision, Renault is a good team, they know that it takes time to get to the top and just look and how they have progressed since rejoining… to be honest, this is the move I thought Alonso was considering. But it’s great to see Danny joining them, plus a partnership with Hulkenberg sounds very good!

    1. @fer-no65
      Agreed.
      There were also some rumors earlier this year that Renault might try to poach Adrian Newey–this was scoffed at and denied. But those rumors are surfacing again. Absolutely nothing concrete though.
      We must also not forget the fact that Marcin Budkowski has started working at Renault from April 1. Me thinks he is now very much devoting his time and efforts towards the 2019 car and beyond.
      At the outset, Daniel to Renault looks like a gamble. Obviously, he knows more than any of us. His judgments on track have been smooth. One hopes he makes similar decisions off the track too.

  3. I wish him the best of luck. Can’t say I remotely saw this coming, but I understand why he took the chance. Hopefully it works out for him like the Mercedes move did for Lewis, or Vettel to Ferrari (I know that partnership hasn’t payed the championship dividends yet, but it very well could have last year barring operational & driver errors, & they are very much in both title hunts again this year). And with the Red Bull’s rate of failure far worse than than anyone else running Renault PUs, hopefully he’ll enjoy better reliability.

    1. It was a long shot for anyone to win the title in the 2017 ferrari, MAYBE alonso, but not vettel, they were too far off, even including the mistakes.

  4. Whilst quite the shock at first, I think this is a smart move from Ricciardo.

    He doesn’t have much to gain from staying with Red Bull, even if Honda pull a rabbit out of the hat within the next couple of seasons. On the whole I think he’s done well against Verstappen, but the spotlight has been firmly on the youngster and the team are fully behind him.

    Renault are getting stronger and could genuinely challenge Red Bull for fourth next year depending on how well Honda are doing, so if he does well against Hulkenberg it’ll set him up longer term for a potential move to Merc/Ferrari in a couple years.

    I’ll enjoy watching this all unfold.

    1. *challenge for third.

      1. Renault have been 1,5 sec off the pace for years, I find it weird that all out of a sudden they’d reach red bull!

        1. New Aero rules next year, and they will hurt the Y250 vortex off the front wing that Red Bull have been the kings of. The front wing changes will reset the field more than we think, and this brings Renault in with a chance. If there was a year to gamble on Renault for improvement against Red Bull, this is the year.

  5. I think Hulkenberg-Ricciardo will be one of the strongest line-ups next season.

  6. So the money won at last.
    A pity for his wrl deserved option for a wdc. Running in the midfield with his capacity… Alonso revisited I am afraid.
    Poor ric.

    1. It’s unlikely Honda will beat Ferrari and Mercedes before 2021 though. So it’s not like he has a lot to lose by not staying there.

      1. It’s more likely Honda will beat FER/MERC than Renault running for WDC.

        1. Renault have powered more championship winning cars than Honda. Be great to see Renault beat Red Bull.

          1. long time ago…

    2. So the money won at last.

      2012 wants its purely greedy HAM back.

      1. @davidnotcoulthard hey at least no one is accusing Ricciardo of being selfish and ungrateful for leaving Red Bull that same way they did Hamilton when he decided to leave McLaren. Funny that.

        1. I don’t see the similarity between the two situations. McLaren was always 100% behind Lewis. Red Bull has no respect for Ricciardo, and have made it clear on numerous occasions.

          1. McLaren was always 100% behind Lewis. Red Bull has no respect for Ricciardo

            Excuse me? If you believe those 2 statements are accurate I have a bridge to sell you. But thanks anyway for proving once again that people hold Hamilton to a different standard to other drivers

  7. It’s going to be a weird end of season, as everyone at Red Bull will be talking #### about Renault engines, except Ric. He will probably just smile, say PUs breaking every other race is just bad luck or something… Can’t say Renault engines are bad, can’t say Red Bull doesn’t pack and run the engines correctly. Just smile and wave.

    1. Ahaha, good one!

  8. Nobody knows what the performance of either Renault or RB Honda will be like in the coming years. It will be very exciting to see how this unfolds

  9. This is bold.

    Get it?

    1. @keithcollantine got so surprised by Ricciardo’s move he made the entire comment section bold as a homage.

      1. True that, double bold!

  10. I wonder how much of this decision was influenced by that stunt Red Bull pulled blaming him in part for Baku. I can imagine that would have soured him to Red Bull too.

    1. That and several soft signals that Red Bull has sent out have been clear that Verstappen is whom they consider as the future. Danny had to move out and embrace the only engine supplier without a leaf driver.

      1. True. Who knows, Renault finally might finally get it right for 2021 and Ricciardo could be in the right spot.

        Besides, most people thought Hamilton was crazy to go to Mercedes which finished in P5 for 2012. Yet it was clear McLaren (even though they finished in P2) weren’t going anywhere in a hurry soon and Whitmarsh was so much on Button’s side that the team was being built around him instead. Favoring a well balanced yet slow car rather than a slightly more difficult to handle fast car.

        Next season with Hamilton helping them out, Mercedes jumped to P2 in the WCC and McLaren without Hamilton took a nose dive to P5. Things can turn around quickly.

        You never know if Renault might make a similar turnaround. At least they do seem ambitious and they also have had their times of domination.

        1. It/s good to have dreams

        2. Mclaren had by far the fastest car in 2012, and no major reason to see that change too dramatically, Ham’s move was really the “wrong move” at the time, but of course turned out to be perfect…

          1. and no major reason to see that change too dramatically

            There was no major reason to see McLaren being any better operationally in 2013 than 2012 where they cost Hamilton the WDC with repeated errors. Also you car comment is wrong anyway as they redesigned their car for 2013 meaning there was no real reason to expect the 2012 performance would still be there (as it proved).

            Ham’s move was really the “wrong move” at the time

            It really wasn’t.

    2. @patrickl Maybe Baku did have an influence, but not entirely in the way you mean, given Ricciardo was arguably more at fault than Verstappen for the Baku crash. Verstappen was beating Ricciardo soundly in that race, despite being in a slower car, just with the skill of his defence and passing. It was frustration over the latter that pushed Ricciardo into an uncharacteristically badly judged pass, causing the big no-no for any team, the drivers taking each other out (viz Rosberg-Hamilton Spain 2016, also with a massive impact on future decisions). With the notable exception of Monaco – where Red Bull clearly felt they owed Ricciardo the win from the previous year – Verstappen has since been dominant.

      1. Guybrush Threepwood
        3rd August 2018, 23:12

        Hahaha. It’s opposite day

        1. The Mighty No 8
          4th August 2018, 7:14

          Another bold claim.

      2. Skill of his defence – nice one.
        I guess he’s just following the truism – The further away from Max the better.

      3. given Ricciardo was arguably more at fault than Verstappen for the Baku cras

        Haha no,Verstappen made an illegal move, causing the crash. Ricciardo had set it up beautifully leaving Verstappen no legal way to defend the corner so Verstappen broke the rules and took them both out. Ricciardo isn’t at fault for Verstappen making 2 defensive moves when you’re only allowed one. It’s that simple.

  11. @keithcollantine somehow everything below the Author information is shown as bold for me on this article; something odd with a Bold mark somehow?

    I think this is an interesting and exciting move; as other say, it seemed clear that while there was strict equality (the best kind!), his teammate often seemed to be more (than) equal; in combination with it not being likely that Red Bull can be in winning form before 2020/2021, which is when Renault plan to be there too, this is a useful shake-up for him. I have to say, in the last few races, he didn’t seem quite at ease (of course, car failures didn’t help, most likely); I hope he had a nice road-trip (that was a great bit of Red Bull marketing!), and can finish this part of his career with some highs.

  12. miracles only happen in fairy tales. F1 is more of a horror storyline

  13. Renault have powered more championship winning cars than Honda. Be great to see Renault beat Red Bull.

  14. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    3rd August 2018, 20:45

    All of our comments look like they stand out from the article like this, but maybe mine doesn’t!

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      3rd August 2018, 20:46

      ok, making it bold doesn’t do the opposite. Anyway, i’m guessing there is an issue here.

      1. I quite like it. I think it should be the new look.
        I wonder if this works

        1. Me too ! I’m far from vision challenged but my eyesight is not as able to change focal distance as it used to be, it’s far more comfortable for me to view the screen from +- 1 meter away than get up close enough for reading glasses to focus.

  15. Excellent decision of Ricciardo, one of the best drivers of the current formula 1.
    Leaving Red Bull will do very well, as the arrival of Crash Max a couple of years ago generated a very toxic and very harmful environment for Daniel, a kind and good-humored guy, quite the opposite of his now ex-partner (for next year), one of the worst, if not the worst, of the grid in terms of behavior.

    1. RIC flourished with a young and strong partner besides him. They still are one of the greatest driver pairings and as RIC said, het learned a lot form Max.
      And really.. “”crash Max” ? Are you <10 years old?

      1. Think it’s another of those who are very critical towards drivers they don’t like, which in his case includes alonso.

        Just like my father, every time bottas is having a good race he says, look at him, he will never win anything etc.

        Meanwhile he’s been more consistent than hamilton.

  16. This akward move from Ricciardo to me, looks like his main goal was to just get away from Verstappen. Het didn’t get a Merc drive, Ferrari didn’t happen and then ends up in a Renault. Though I can see Renault maybe beating Red Bull next year (only if the Honda PU really sucks and Red Bull gets it all wrong with the car) to me this move looks like an all or nothing gamble after a surely unexpected lack of alternatives.

  17. ricardo alayza
    12th August 2018, 0:19

    Ferrari just lost a great pilot!

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