Daniel Ricciardo shocked everyone yesterday when he announced his departure from Red Bull after a decade with them and subsequently joined Renault, the team which has been delivering consistently this year.
And their boss, Cyril Abiteboul believes that Ricciardo signing for them is a sure shot sign of their progress over the past few years. “Daniel’s signing underscores our determination to accelerate our progress towards the forefront of the sport”, said Abiteboul.
“It is also a 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.”
The decision made by Ricciardo has been interpreted in several ways. Some believe that Red Bull are partial towards Verstappen and the Australian wanted equal status. Others say that he wanted to get out of the Dutchman’s shadow.
A third faction believe the move has taken place purely for monetary reasons. Either way, Ricciardo seems to have put faith in the team which challenged Schumacher in his dominant years and made Alonso champion.
Abiteboul acknowledged this and said the team would be trying their absolute best to give him a competitive car. “We will have to repay his faith in us by delivering the best-car possible”, he said.
“We welcome him to our growing team in 2019 with a great deal of pride, but also humility.”
While the fans’ shock is understandable, even Red Bull admitted their surprise at the Australian’s decision. Earlier today, deputy principal, Christian Horner stated that he thought Ricciardo was joking.
This revelation highlight how discreet the entire deal was but the bigger question on the Austrian team’s mind would be finalizing a replacement.
Carlos Sainz Jr., who is on loan at Renault, could be an option but his frosty relationship with Verstappen could be a stumbling block. Their other option is Frenchman Pierre Gasly, who has had some impressive races for Toro Rosso this season.