Ricciardo to leave Red Bull for Renault

Ricciardo joins Renault F1 team on a two-year deal

Daniel Ricciardo takes his Red Bull F1 car on a US road trip

With the F1 world now in its annual enforced summer break, something instituted to cut costs and revitalise flyaway team members in the middle of a packed calendar, the biggest developments before the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa on August 28 will be in the driver market.

Two down and eight to go, Mercedes and Renault have their drivers and the rest of the teams will be following suit but not without a serious bout of Silly Season madness triggered by Daniel Ricciardo's unexpected decision to depart Red Bull after nearly a decade as one of their drivers.

"By far the toughest decision I've made in my racing career - but 29 years living on this Earth, it was actually one of the toughest life decisions I've made".

Carlos Sainz, who Ricciardo will replace at Renault, is likely to join McLaren although the Spaniard also remains in the frame to return to parent team Red Bull as Verstappen's partner.

It's also one of those moves that shows a determination to take on a challenge and carry the team up the grid, on his talent (combined with new team mate Nico Hulkenberg).

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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.

"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", he added.

Renault's surprise signing of Ricciardo, which came as nearly everyone in Formula One assumed his staying at Red Bull was a done deal, also has a knock-on effect on the plans of Mercedes, Force India and Williams. Instead, Ricciardo will partner with Nico Hülkenberg at Renault, a team that returned to F1 in 2016.

"Signing Daniel Ricciardo is a unique opportunity for the Groupe Renault towards this objective that could not be missed".

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

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"Red Bull is a great racing team but I think Fernando has got what he wants to do in the back of his mind".

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.

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