Daniel Ricciardo quits Red Bull for Renault

Daniel Ricciardo has won seven races since joining Red Bull Racing in 2014. More

DANIEL Ricciardo has taken to social media following his shock call to sign with Renault instead of Red Bull, saying it is one of the toughest decisions he's ever made.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo will end his long relationship with Red Bull and join Renault on a two-year deal next season in a surprise announcement that jolted Formula One ahead of its August shutdown.

The immediate questions to be answered are who will be the Australian's replacement alongside Max Verstappen and what will happen to Spaniard Carlos Sainz, whose place he has taken?

The 29-year-old Ricciardo is already familiar with Renault, whose engines have powered Red Bull's cars.

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.

Daniel Ricciardo is to leave Red Bull at the end of the 2018 season for Renault. "Each time Renault has been in the sport they eventually won".

Daniel Ricciardo overtakes Renault's Nico Hulkenberg.

Mercedes, Ferrari and current side Red Bull are undoubtedly the powerhouses in Formula One, occupying the top three spots in the standings for many years now.

Ricciardo's anticipated contract extension with Red Bull had been thought to be a formality. Ricciardo added: "I hope to be able to help them in this journey".

There was speculation that Ricciardo did not get the assurances he craved from Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz, wrote British newspaper the Daily Mail.

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.

The most likely outcome, since Sainz is a member of the Red Bull family through the Toro Rosso team and was only on a one-year "loan", is a straight swap. After two seasons with Scuderia Toro Rosso, Daniel joined us in 2014 and to date has brought the team seven victories, 29 podium finishes, two pole positions and 904 championship points. "We've got nine races left to kick some ass, so let's get it".

Ricciardo won in China, the third Grand Prix of the season, and then won three races later in Monaco. "Renault made a decision to come back to Formula One to fight for world championships", said team president Jerome Stoll as the deal was announced.

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