Earlier today, Daniel Ricciardo shocked the world of Formula One by announcing his decision to leave Red Bull Racing for Renault at the end of the season.
Reports that circulated earlier this morning were then confirmed by Renault shortly after via a statement on the team’s official website.
Despite earlier this week stating he was likely to sign a fresh deal with Red Bull during the summer break, Ricciardo surprised everyone by opting to jump ship.
In the statement released by Renault, the Australian dubbed the decision as one of the hardest he has made in his career so far.
He said: “It was probably one of the most difficult decisions to take in my career so far, but I thought that it was time for me to take on a fresh and new challenge.
“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, and I know that each time Renault has been in the sport, they eventually won.
“I hope to be able to help them in this journey and contribute on and off track.”
Ricciardo will join Nico Hulkenberg in completing Renault’s team for the 2019 season, and the German welcomed his team’s latest addition on Twitter.
Hulkenberg currently sits seventh in the overall standings for 2018, while Ricciardo sits 66 points ahead in fifth.
Ricciardo has also already won two races so far this season in China and Monaco.
The move now means that Red Bull will need to act quickly if they are to secure a suitable number two for Max Verstappen.
Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner said: “We fully respect Daniel’s decision to leave us 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.
“We will now continue to evaluate the numerous options available to us before deciding on which driver partner Max Verstappen for the 2019 season.”