Daniel Ricciardo moves to Renault for 2019
In a sport where headlines are often dominated by Hamilton or Vettel, few drivers unite fans the way Daniel Ricciardo does.
Daniel Ricciardo is an arbiter of sorts. You feel happy when he wins a race. Few doubt his abilities, with pundits going as far as stating he’s a great thief of races; more of a race-burglar according to Martin Brundle.
When the focus clearly rested with Bottas, Hamilton and Vettel at the Chinese Grand Prix, Ricciardo came out of nowhere to eclipse with a win. He was thrilling; he was Joi-de-Vivre.
Fast, driving on the limit and a master of ‘late braking’, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo has the makings of a great driver and a possible World Champion, of which there’s little doubt.
But what did carry a doubt and for the longest time was the question regarding Daniel Ricciardo’s imminent future. A little over a month ago, when Red Bull confirmed Honda as their 2019 engine suppliers, there was an air of uncertainty around the otherwise buzzing, peppy team garage.
There was little doubt as to where Ricciardo would’ve been had the Christian Horner-led outfit not had parted ways with Renault.
But there were concerns whether Daniel Ricciardo, running out of contract at the end of 2018, would be interested in renewing his contract considering Honda were on-board?
Finally, that doubt has perished.
An air of certainty has affirmed the future move of Daniel Ricciardo, a driver who has 7 wins and 29 podiums against his name in a brief stint in the pinnacle of motor-racing.
On late Friday afternoon, Ricciardo’s current employer- Red Bull- confirmed that the Australian is moving to Renault for the 2019 F1 season.
A move that’s being debated vigorously, one can say from the perspective of Renault, it’s a statement of intent. In exactly a year, have they moved on from the unsuccessful Briton Jolyon Palmer to hiring a driver who’s running currently fifth in the driver’s standings.
Isn’t that a bold move?
In what seems a rather interesting driver alliance, 29-year-old Daniel Ricciardo will partner German driver, Nico Hulkenberg for the brand new season, meaning Spanish Carlos Sainz Jr. will move out of the French team.
While Daniel, not a miser communicator like a Kimi would be willing communicate with Hulkenberg, his established partner at Renault, the German would in-turn wish to learn a few tricks about breaking ahead into the front, having gone sans a podium in a nearly a decade of driving in the sport.
What sets Daniel Ricciardo apart?
Contesting in only his eighth season in Formula 1, Ricciardo has already collected 7 wins and garners 4 podiums each year on an average.
Few drivers possess such a glowing smile and are able to mount such impressive comebacks in a Grand Prix as one of Australia’s best drivers ever.
Last week, at the Hungaroring, Ricciardo bounced back to finish fourth, having begun twelfth, well outside the top ten. This is a track where Daniel endured a mechanical DNF in 2017.
Last season, in the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Ricciardo presided over the Baku madness with his characteristic grit and resolve, making up several places in a race fuelled by temperamental outbursts and skirmishes to drink champagne from the “shoey.”
He’s also collected legions of fans who are arrested by his no-holds-barred brand of driving, a signature style that combines tenacity and swagger, earning him both critical praise and commercial success.
That told, Red Bull will perhaps always be a team that will rest in his fond memories, responsible for proving the smiling Aussie all of his Grand Prix victories.
That’s a bond no forthcoming achievement can shackle. Fans, already at this point in time are contemplating how hard would it be to imagine a Red Bull car minus it’s smiling supremo?
Why a move to Renault makes sense?
While the battle at the front is being dominated by the usual biggies- Ferrari and Mercedes going on an all-out war with one another- Renault have challenged teams like Force India, McLaren and Haas with better reliability and stability in the scraps for the midfield battle.
Post 12 races, Renault are sitting comfortably on a very-respectable fourth on the constructor’s standings, 16 points ahead of Haas on fifth (66 points) and the Force India on sixth (59 points).
Hence, the possibility of moving to Renault cannot be gauged without anticipating some mouth-watering prospects for the next year.
Renault have upped their game since 2017
This, after all, is a team that has evidenced a tremendous run of form having begun significantly shaping up the engine, an aerodynamic package of the black and yellow liveried machinery ever since the start of 2017 season.
While the better part of the previous season was attributed to the development stage of Renault, 2018 has been about recalibrating their strengths and unfurling a more balanced, less-recalcitrant machinery.
This, lest it is forgotten, is a car that has earned Hulkenberg a massively-improved season, that’s resulted in 52 points from 12 Grands Prix, including a best-place finish of P5 at Germany.
Who would’ve thought that a Renault would manage to break inside top-five?
With a strong, experienced driver of the ability of Ricciardo in the fold, there’s a great possibility of witnessing some intense battles and hopefully so- at the front of the grid starting next year.