N Also at the Hungarian GP, Daniel Ricciardo and Red Bull Motorsport Director Helmut Marko explains that a contract extension with Red Bull is only a matter of form. But the matter was evidently not as certain as expected. The bomb burst five days after the Hungarian GP.
As Renault has now officially confirmed, Ricciardo will be Nico Hulkenberg's new team-mate. The option on Esteban Ocon, which Renault recently secured from Mercedes, is no longer valid. And Red Bull's right of access to Carlos Sainz, which is valid until September 30th, is suddenly brand new again.
Ricciardo is looking for a new challenge
“That was probably one of the most difficult decisions of my career. But I was just of the opinion that it was now time for me to take on a new, fresh challenge ', the Australian explained his move.
' I know that Renault still has a long way to go until you can fight at the top again, but I'm very impressed with the progress we've made over the past two years. I know that Renault always won at some point when they were in this sport. I hope that I can help them along the way and make a contribution both on and off the track. ”
Red Bull had already confirmed its driver's decision to leave the team a few hours earlier and supported himself thanks for seven years in the Red Bull family, including five years with the A-Team. In negotiationsUntil recently, it was mainly about the money and the duration of the contract, emotionally also about Max Verstappen's number 1 status.
Ricciardo is said to have called on Red Bull 20 million euros. Apparently the team didn't play along. Verstappen is already expensive enough. Ricciardo apparently felt he was being sold below value. When it came to salaries, Helmut Marko had always said: 'Those who are successful with us earn good money.'
Too many drivers for too few teams
Ricciardo may have lost confidence that he can be successful with a Red Bull Honda in 2019. That's why the seven-time GP winner only wanted to commit for one year. So he would have been flexible if Honda couldn't catch up with Ferrari and Mercedes.
Whether he will be more successful at Renault next year, however, has to be doubted. Renault has so far not been able to close the gap to the top teams. There is even a risk that Ferrari's HaasF1 customer team will still intercept the French works racing team in the battle for 4th place.
Ricciardo's transfer comes as a surprise to everyone involved. At the Hungarian GP, Carlos Sainz's clan intensified its contacts with McLaren because you had to be afraid of falling between all stools. The word got around that Renault sporting director Cyril Abiteboul Mercedes had stolen an option on Esteban Ocon. He was ahead of McLaren boss Zak Brown, who also had an eye on the French.
Gasly or Sainz as Ricciardo replacement?
Maybe Sainz will have to keep following up looking for a new employer. It is also possible that Red Bull relies on the younger option Pierre Gasly. The Frenchman has so far been able to fully convince at his appearances in the Toro Rosso. Most recently, the man from Normandy raced in Hungary in 6th place. Should Gasly make the climb, it would be a chance for Brendon Hartley to keep his cockpit. The New Zealander was already on the hit list after mixed performances.
The driver market could not only be driven by RicciardosFarewell at Red Bull are mixed up. A possible collapse of Force India would also have a greater impact on the transfer carousel. There would then be too many drivers for too few teams.
If Renault, McLaren and Williams continue to refuse to allow Force India to participate in the prize money cake with new owners, Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez could already from the GP Belgium standing on the street. Then the race for the two Force India pilots will begin.