Australian Ricciardo will leave Red Bull Racing to replace Spain’s Carlos Sainz as team-mate to Germany’s Nico Hülkenberg.
Ricciardo has won seven F1 grands prix to date – including this year’s Chinese and Monaco GPs – and stood on the podium 29 times. He is very familiar with Renault Sport having raced in its junior single-seater categories between 2007 and 2011 and has been powered by Renault engines during his F1 career since 2014.
Announcement of Ricciardo’s signing came in early August, just after the Hungarian GP – many in the sport had expected him to stay with Red Bull.
Ricciardo 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.”
Meanwhile, Jérôme Stoll, President, Renault Sport Racing, commented: “Renault decided to come back to Formula One to fight for world championships. Signing Daniel Ricciardo is a unique opportunity for the Groupe Renault towards this objective that could not be missed. We welcome Daniel’s arrival to our team, still in the making, but more motivated than ever.”
And enthusedCyril Abiteboul, Managing Director, Renault Sport Racing: “Daniel’s signing underscores our determination to accelerate our progress towards the forefront of the sport. It is also recognition of the work accomplished over the past two and a half seasons.
“Daniel’s undoubted talent and charisma are a huge bonus and statement for the team. We will have to repay his faith in us by delivering the best car possible. We welcome him to our growing team in 2019 with a great deal of pride, but also humility.”
In its third season back in F1, the Renault Sport Formula One Team lies fourth in the Constructors’ standings heading to the iconic and historic Monza circuit for the this coming Sunday’s (2 Sept) Italian Grand Prix. Hülkenberg is seventh in the Drivers’ championship, Sainz 12th.
Renault has celebrated eight previous victories at Monza: with its own team in both 1981 and 1982 with drivers Alain Prost and René Arnoux, and also as engine supplier, in 1991 (Nigel Mansell, Williams); 1993 & 1994 (Damon Hill, Williams); 1995 (Johnny Herbert, Benetton); 2011 & 2013 (Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull).
After Monza come the final seven GPs of the season – all long distance ‘fly away’ races outside of Europe. The first two of these also take place in September: Singapore (16 Sept) and Russia (30 Sept).