All Change at Red Bull in 2019, Why Daniel Ricciardo Decided To Leave
With Formula 1 only having two cars per team, it often means that the driver market is usually quite static. The likes of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel being tied down to multi-year contracts means there is not a lot of movement from one team to another.
So when a big-name driver decides to change employers, it is undoubtedly headline news and one man has been making the headlines as of late. The man in question is Australian Daniel Ricciardo who has decided to swap Red Bull for Renault in 2019.
It is quite the coup for Renault as they are in the mid-table bracket of teams with their usual foes being Force India and Haas, rather than Ferrari and Mercedes. However, the capture of the ‘Honey Badger’ is certainly a statement of intent for next season.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner said only recently that he expected Ricciardo to sign a new contract and stay with the team until at least the end of the decade. So this news does present something of a U-turn on the part of the 29-year-old.
And it is a decision that must be all the more galling for Red Bull when you consider the fact that they have, in no uncertain terms, been let down by Renault engines this season. So not only have they been supplying sub-standard powertrains but they have also snared one of their drivers.
The fact that Red Bull have had reliability issues has left them a long way back in the F1 betting markets. If you were to consider either Ricciardo or his teammate Max Verstappen to win this year’s championship, bet365 are offering the long-shot odds of 300 and 400/1 respectively.
The frustration that Renault power has not been up to scratch this year was made obvious at the recent Hungarian Grand Prix when Verstappen had to retire early on. The Dutchman’s expletive-laden outburst in front of a worldwide audience clearly said that enough was enough.
And that is exactly what it will be as next year Red Bull have made the decision that they will be powered by Honda engines instead. This means that the currently strained relationship with Renault is petering out to a rather forgettable end.
The linkup with Honda seemed almost like an inevitable one after the Japanese manufacturer partnered up with Red Bull’s sister team Toro Rosso in a three-year deal at the start of 2018, and it must be said that the engine is a lot more reliable than when it previously sat in a McLaren chassis.
With Honda and Toro Rosso already in partnership, it means that the junior team can act as a testbed before Red Bull come to the party in 2019. Here, any potential performance issues can be identified and more importantly ironed out before next year.
In doing so, it will give the Red Bull team the best possible chance of once again competing for world titles; an accolade they have not been successful in winning since 2013 when Sebastian Vettel landed the last of his four successive champions wins.
The Honda engine could finally be the launch pad that Max Verstappen needs so that he is consistently on the top step of the podium. It is obvious he has the talent but he can only be as good as the car he drives. If all the pieces of the jigsaw come together then we could soon see our first ever Dutch Formula 1 world champion.