Daniel Ricciardo will part ways with Red Bull Racing at the end of the 2018 season, the team has confirmed.
He will join Renault to partner Nico Hülkenberg for the next two seasons.
The Australian said: “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.”
Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport Racing managing director added: “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 had been expected to sign a new contract, admitting recently that it was simply a matter of time, but instead will leave the team with which he has claimed seven victories.
“We fully respect Daniel’s decision to leave Aston Martin Red Bull Racing,” Christian Horner said in a statement. “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.”
The move leaves question marks over the future of Carlos Sainz, who is believed to be a target for McLaren.