There was just a sign missing on that contract after what was a fantastic weekend in Monaco. But Daniel Ricciardo and Red Bull are parting ways after 10 years of collaboration, which started back in 2008 with Daniel being part of the Red Bull junior team.
Several romours have linked the aussie to all the F1 Top Teams: Mercedes, which has already confirmed both their drivers, and Ferrari, which is yet to confirm the drivers line up for next year.
The Aussie, in the last few hours, has been linked to McLaren and Renault too, but it is still a secret where Daniel is going to bring his contagious smile.
Seven victories, twenty- nine podiums, two pole position and 904 points: this is what Ricciardo has collected, so far, with Red Bull, from his first season with Sebastian Vettel back in 2014.
“We fully respect Daniel’s decision to leave Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and we wish him all the best in his future. We would like to thank him for his dedication and the role he has played since joining the Team in 2014, the highlights of course being the seven wins and the 29 podiums he has achieved so far with us." Said Christian Horner, Aston Martin Red Bull Team Principal.
“We will now continue to evaluate the numerous options available to us before deciding on which driver partners Max Verstappen for the 2019 season. In the meantime, there are still nine races left in 2018 and we are fully focused on maximising every opportunity for Max and Daniel for the remainder of the season.”
The Silly Season is, than, more chaotic than ever, with several drivers trying to find a new home for next year. From Charles Leclerc, hoping for an upgrade from Alfa Romeo Sauber, to Carlos Sainz, who can make a incredible return to Red Bull, or try a new experience in McLaren alongside Fernando Alonso; the Spaniard himself is yet to unveil if his future will be in F1 or not, and if he will stay in McLaren; Esteban Ocon, with rumours suggesting he will be wearing a yellow suit next year. And Daniel: will his future be bright red? Or will he spend a sabbatical year in another team, waiting for the big chance with the Prancing Horse or the Silver Arrows?
Renault confirmed that Daniel Ricciardo will partner Nico Hulkenberg next year.
"Daniel’s signing underscores our determination to accelerate our progress towards the forefront of the sport. 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. We will have to repay his faith in us by delivering the best car possible. We welcome him to our growing team in 2019 with a great deal of pride, but also humility." Said Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Team Principal, welcoming his new driver.
Ricciardo added: "It was probably one of the most difficult decisions to take in my career so far. But I thought that it was time for me to take on a fresh and new challenge. I realise that there is a lot ahead in order to allow Renault to reach their target of competing at the highest level but I have been impressed by their progression in only two years, and I know that each time Renault has been in the sport they eventually won. I hope to be able to help them in this journey and contribute on and off track."