In what could be the biggest gamble in his Formula One career, Daniel Ricciardo has decided to leave Aston Martin Red Bull Racing at the end of the ongoing season. The move comes as a shock since the 29-year-old Australian was inching closer for a new deal with Red Bull. Ricciardo has also signed for Renault Sport Formula One Team for the next two seasons.
Though the reason for the split between Ricciardo and Red Bull is unknown, he will be leaving the team after seven victories, 29 podium finishes, two pole positions and 904 championship points. Having joined the Red Bull family in 2008 as a member of the Red Bull Junior Team, with whom he won numerous junior titles, Daniel made his F1 debut with HRT in 2011 at the British Grand Prix. After two seasons with Scuderia Toro Rosso, Daniel joined Red Bull in 2014.
"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," said Christian Horner, team principal of Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Team.
The Red Bull car is he is driving this season is faster than the Renault team car and hence the move to the latter is a big gamble for Ricciardo. In addition, Red Bull has decided to switch to Honda engine ditching Renault engine from 2019 over reliability issues. This could be one of the reasons for Ricciardo's decision.
Red Bull has also rewarded Ricciardo's teammate Max Verstappen a massively improved deal last season. This indicates Max will be Red Bull's de facto numero uno driver for the upcoming season. It could be another reason for Ricciardo's decision to leave.