Ricciardo’s move leaves plenty of questions to be answered



Daniel Ricciardo says his switch from Red Bull to Renault for the 2019 Formula One season is one of the toughest decisions he has made in his entire life.

So the manufacturer is definitely on an upward trajectory, and with new regulations coming into force in 2019, the gap to the dominance of the Mercedes and Ferrari engines may be somewhat bridged.

Omnisport writers Tom Webber and Ben Spratt argue each side.

The Renault-Ricciardo announcement has triggered another flurry of Silly Season speculation.

His decision is even more hard to understand when considering that Ferrari are likely to be in the market for a new teammate to Sebastian Vettel, with Kimi Raikkonen tipped for retirement.

Ricciardo had wanted a two-year deal to keep his options open and on a par with top drivers, including four-times world champions Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who also have contracts up to 2020.

Ricciardo, who has won the Chinese and Monaco Grand Prix races in the current season, has signed a 2 year contract with Renault, and will partner Nico Hulkenburg. Going to Renault does not guarantee that.

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With time to spare during Formula One's three-week-long summer break, the Red Bull team and its Australian star saw a ideal opportunity to kick off the first stage of an F1 transatlantic road trip.

The Australian's departure frees up one of the most coveted cockpits in motorsport, a seat with a Big Three team alongside Max Verstappen.

"Signing Daniel Ricciardo is a unique opportunity for the Groupe Renault towards this objective that could not be missed". The Finn, talented enough to be a contender in his own right, has spent recent weeks fielding questions on whether he is allowed to race Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton or if he is simply, in Toto Wolff's words, "the ideal wingman". This indicates Max will be Red Bull's de facto numero uno driver for the upcoming season. But that engine unhappiness apparently didn't sway Ricciardo too much.

Though the reason for the split between Ricciardo and Red Bull is unknown, he will be leaving the team after seven victories, 29 podium finishes, two pole positions and 904 championship points. At Renault, he will be the headline act.

Team president Jerome Stoll added: "Renault made a decision to come back to Formula One to fight for world championships". Ricciardo added: "I hope to be able to help them in this journey".

It has been clearly outpaced by Mercedes and Renault since the start of the hybrid turbo era in F1, with a string of disastrous failures over recent seasons.

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