Daniel Ricciardo has sensationally quit Red Bull after five seasons to go and join Renault for 2019.
His deal with Renault will see him partner Nico Hulkenberg at Enstone for the next two years.
Ricciardo’s decision to leave is prompted by him feeling the need for ‘a fresh and new challenge’ but described this decision as ‘one of the most difficult’ that he has made so far in his racing career.
Having been part of the Red Bull family since 2008, Ricciardo has achieved much success, including beating the reigning and then teammate- Sebastian Vettel in his debut year at Red Bull in 2014.
Speaking about Daniel’s departure, Red Bull Team Principal, Christian Horner said; “We fully respect Daniel’s decision to leave Red Bull and we wish him all the best in his future.”
Pandora’s Box Open
Ricciardo’s decision to join Renault has now opened up F1’s version of Pandora Box as the driver market is now thrown up into air.
Carlos Sainz left for Renault on loan under expectation that he would be promoted to Red Bull in 2019 if Max Verstappen or Ricciardo left.
Now that the latter has announced his departure, Sainz will surely be a frontrunner but his relationship with Verstappen at Toro Rosso was rather icy at times, which casts doubt over his chances.
Pierre Gasly meanwhile has put himself into the frame after dominating Brendon Hartley at Toro Rosso this season but could be considered a risk, after Daniil Kvyat struggled when suddenly promoted.
Several other midfield drivers like Fernando Alonso and Romain Grosjean are also currently available, whilst Kimi Raikkonen could be a possibility if Ferrari replaces him with Charles Leclerc.
Force India drivers, Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez could also be in the reckoning if want proven talent and the team fail to find a buyer.
Either way, Ricciardo has triggered what will be a lively Pandora’s Box as drivers scramble to secure their 2019 seat, whilst F2 stars like Alexander Albon and Lando Norris knock on the doors of F1.