This morning Australians are waking up to the news that Aussie F1 driver Daniel Riccardo is leaving Red Bull. Home to Australia’s racing drivers since 2007 with Mark Webber, the talented driver will be missed, but this does open up a high profile spot in a top 3 team.
There’s been little information flowing about exactly what sealed the deal for the move to Renault, but it is interesting to reflect on much of Ricciardo’s successes with Red Bull, had been powered by a Renault engine, something that was due to end at the end of this season. In 2019 Red Bull will be powered by Honda engines in a search for greater speed.
The reality of success in the current era of F1 is that its largely driven by engine performance, rather than an outright aerodynamics race, something Red Bull leveraged for success in years gone by.
After having lost Sebastian Vettel to the fast and competitive Ferrari a few years ago and that proved to be a great move for him. Now having lost Ricciardo, Red Bull has Max Verstappen and a question mark. Conversation will now move to who will fill the seat, an established driver like Fernando Alonso, or an up and comer like Pierre Gasly.
It’s easy to think Dan may have made a purely financial decision about his future, being offered more more at the factory Renault team, but it’s this is a guy that’s clearly demonstrated a championship is his primary goal. Clearly he’s been convinced that a seat at Renault was the best way to achieve that goal.
It’s also one of those moves that shows a determination to take on a challenge and carry the team up the grid, on his talent (combined with new team mate Nico Hulkenberg).
Best of luck Dan, it’ll take some time to get used to seeing you in yellow, but with a very loyal fan base, they’ll follow you wherever you go.