Ricciardo to leave Red Bull for ambitious Renault

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"We still have ten races in the season in 2018, and we are fully focused on how to extract the maximum possibilities with max and Daniel", - commented on the departure of the head of Riccardo "Red bull" Christian Horner.

Abiteboul believes Ricciardo is a potential champion and was able to cement a deal despite the numerous Renault engine troubles that have cost the young Australian some headline results in recent years.

But as the Australian confirms, the 29-year-old has nine races left in the RB vehicle and is desperate to go out on a high!

Ricciardo's switch to a team outside the big three of Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari represents a gamble. "We wish him all the best in his future". Favourite for the spot is Carlos Sainz, the Toro Rosso driver who has been on loan to Renault this year but who has been strongly linked to McLaren in 2019 alongside Fernando Alonso.

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

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Renault are now fourth in the Constructors' Championship and are yet to win a race since returning to the sport as a fully-fledged team three years ago when they bought Lotus.

This incarnation of Renault started off a bit slower than the last time, but if they continue on their current trajectory, Ricciardo can hope for at least a few podiums next season, before truly finding out whether he signed up for the real deal in 2020, when the team are projected to start winning multiple races.

"It was probably one of the most hard decisions to take in my career so far", said Ricciardo in a Renault statement.

"I realize 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", Ricciardo said.

But his switch to Renault scuppers expectations Esteban Ocon was on the cusp of moving to the French team for 2019 from Force India.

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With Red Bull's gamble to take Honda power units, their pace will be an unknown.

Who will team with Verstappen?

Partner Riccardo in "Reno" will be Nico Hulkenberg.

In that time team Mercedes took to twitter to add fuel to the fire with the troll of the motorsport year.

With other young hopefuls including George Russell also circling for a chance, and one-time GP victor Robert Kubica also hopeful of a return after disastrous rally crash injuries, there is certain to be plenty of news soon on the shape of the starting grid for the Australian Grand Prix grid in 2019.

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