Analyzing Daniel Ricciardo’s move to Renault

The Aussie took the Formula 1 paddock by surprise after announcing a move from Red Bull to Renault for next season.

Last week Daniel Ricciardo shocked the Formula 1 paddock after announcing he will be joining Renault for next season. It was no secret that he was debating a career change, but this move took everyone by surprise.

He has been with Red Bull for the majority of his career, starting with the team in 2014. Since then he has proven he belongs in a top seat picking up multiple wins and podiums in an era dominated by Mercedes and Ferrari.

A while back it was also announced that Red Bull would be using Honda power units for next season. This must have been a significant factor in his decision process after seeing the unreliability with McLaren. However, Toro Rosso has proven that reliability is not a huge concern.

Daniel Ricciardo ahead of the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix — (Image: Red Bull)

Red Bull will be able to use the data gathered from Toro Rosso to get a ‘jumpstart’ of sorts. Despite this, there is a level of comfort going with a power unit that has race wins under its belt, even if those wins came with Red Bull.

Ricciardo will also have full manufacturer support at Renault, whereas at Red Bull the relationship between them and Renault was rocky, to say the least. Another notable factor that could have impacted Ricciardo’s decision is driver roles.

Max Verstappen is a top talent, there is no debating that, but so is Daniel Ricciardo. This can create a highly competitive environment if not a toxic environment, and in some ways, that’s what happened at Red Bull. Ricciardo will be joining Nico Hulkenberg at Renault which is a relatively safe and reliable driver lineup.

Nico has been in Formula 1 for a reasonable amount of time but has never made that jump from standard to elite. This will be great for Ricciardo as he will likely outpace the German, giving him the preference for upgrades in the Renault garage. Of course, there is no guarantee that Ricciardo will be the number one driver, but he is the heavy favourite.

You also can’t forget about the monetary incentive that Renault may have offered Ricciardo. According to totalsportek.com, Ricciardo was making 6.5 million USD per year with Red Bull. It’s safe to say that Renault would have provided a lot more than that.

By: Andrew Miles