Ricciardo to leave Red Bull for Renault at end of F1 season

RedBull

Ricciardo drove for Red Bull's junior Formula One team Toro Rosso in 2012 and 2013.

Until Red Bull decide, Sainz's hands are tied and any other move - and McLaren have expressed interest - must remain on hold.

Ricciardo is now fifth in the points standings, 14 points behind Valtteri Bottas in fourth and 95 points behind Hamilton in the points lead.Ricciardo has won seven races in his F1 career, including three in his first season with Red Bull Racing in 2014. Starting off at San Francisco (complete with an obligatory jaunt across the Golden Gate Bridge), Danny Ric and his accompanying pit crew made their way through Utah's Monument Valley, before stopping at the final destination - the famous Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.

The F1 world was hit with a massive bombshell on Friday when it was announced Daniel Ricciardo had chose to turn down a new contract with Red Bull.

Sainz and Verstappen were together at Toro Rosso in 2015 and for a few races in 2016 before Verstappen was promoted to Red Bull Racing.

Ricciardo says "it was time for me to take on a fresh and new challenge".

Electing to step out of a race-winning Red Bull and into a Renault is a huge risk for Ricciardo.

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It is believed that Red Bull's move to ditch Renault engines in favor of Honda power units for next year played a role in Ricciardo's decision to leave the team. "Each time Renault has been in the sport they eventually won". Ricciardo added: "I hope to be able to help them in this journey".

'Jérôme Stoll, President, Renault Sport Racing: Renault chose to come back to Formula One to fight for World Championships.

Despite two race wins this season, including a victory in the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix, it's been a frustrating season for Ricciardo at Red Bull.

Ricciardo's decision has certainly upset the driver market for 2019, which had appeared to be settling down as the expected pieces had fallen into place such as Mercedes retaining Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

Sainz's real competition from within the Red Bull ranks is Pierre Gasly who has given a good account of himself in his first full season in the top-flight.

His departure from Red Bulls comes after claims that he has "felt unloved by Red Bull after they made Max Verstappen their de facto No 1 by rewarding him with a massively improved deal last season" have lead to his departure.

At Haas, one of two Ferrari "satellite" teams, the likely pairing for 2019 is current driver Jan Magnussen with Charles Leclerc, who will be promoted from Alfa Romeo-Sauber on the way to an eventual drive at Ferrari.

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