Daniel Ricciardo has advised Red Bull that he is to leave the team at the end of the 2018 season.
Having joined the Red Bull family in 2008 as a member of their Junior Team, with whom he won numerous titles, Ricciardo made his F1 debut with HRT at the 2011 British Grand Prix.
After two seasons with Toro Rosso, the Australian was promoted to Red Bull Racing in 2014 and to date has brought the team seven victories, 29 podium finishes, two pole positions and 904 championship points.
“We fully respect Daniel’s decision to leave Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and we wish him all the best in his future,” commented team principal Christian Horner. “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.
“We will now continue to evaluate the numerous options available to us before deciding on which driver partners Max Verstappen for the 2019 season. In the meantime, there are still nine races left in 2018 and we are fully focused on maximising every opportunity for Max and Daniel for the remainder of the season.”
Lawrence Barretto [Senior Writer, F1.com] says….
Back in May, Daniel Ricciardo appeared to be a man with options on his future and an outside contender for the drivers’ world championship after two wins in six.
Fast forward a couple of months and things had changed. He’s close to 100 points off the championship lead after some dreadful reliability.
With regards his future, the door at Mercedes slammed shut and Ferrari was no longer a possibility. That left him with the option of staying at Red Bull, alongside Max Verstappen, or gambling on a move elsewhere.
It was not an easy call. Ricciardo knew his next move is important as he feels that deal will cover the peak years of his career. Get it wrong and he may never get a genuine shot at the title.
On Friday, it emerged the Honey Badger has opted to take the punt, with news he is to leave the Red Bull family of which he has been part of since 2008.
It’s a bold move, but a series of factors, including the team’s decision to switch to Honda power next season, will have played their part in the decision.
His destination for 2019 has yet to be announced, but there’s an overwhelming favourite, one that has the resources and provides the Australian with a project that could yield the world title he craves.