Daniel Ricciardo's Formula One future has finally been clarified.
The Australian will leave Red Bull at the end of his fifth season with the team and join Renault from next year, debuting for his new outfit at the Formula 1® Australian Grand Prix 2019.
— Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) August 3, 2018
This may not be the dream switch to Ferrari, but a move to Renault could be just what Ricciardo needs. There is little doubt that the Australian would have been the number two under Sebastian Vettel.
If he is to kick on, Ricciardo must be the main man – he need only check in with Valtteri Bottas to establish that. 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 team-mate Lewis Hamilton or if he is simply, in Toto Wolff's words, "the perfect wingman".
It would be the same at Red Bull, too. The speculation that has engulfed Ricciardo's season began because he appeared unhappy with his role alongside prodigy Max Verstappen.
As the campaign has worn on and Ricciardo has faltered while talking up interest from other teams, his position within the Red Bull camp has not improved.
At Renault, he will be the headline act.
And Ricciardo's new team do not believe he is selling away his dreams of becoming a world champion either. "Renault decided to come back to Formula One to fight for world championships," said team president Jerome Stoll as the deal was announced. Ricciardo added: "I hope to be able to help them in this journey."
With both Ricciardo and Renault on the same page, believing that lofty goal can be realised, this can be a roaring success.
— Renault Sport F1 (@RenaultSportF1) August 3, 2018