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"Change is scary - it's ****** terrifying," admits Ricciardo.

NEWS STORY
21/11/2018

This weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, while marking the end of the 2018 season, also witnesses a number of seismic changes to the grid ahead of the new season.

Most notably, Fernando Alonso calls it a day and heads off to conquer Indy, while Marcus Ericsson leaves F1 for IndyCar and Stoffel Vandoorne for Formula E.

Kimi Raikkonen finally leaves Ferrari, and Daniel Ricciardo leaves Red Bull, the popular Australian having chosen to drive for Renault, according to Messrs Marko, Horner and Verstappen the cause of all the Austrian team's issues over the years.

For Ricciardo, it is almost a step into the unknown, a product of the Red Bull Junior Team, this weekend marks the Aussie's 100th start for the Austrian outfit.

Needless to say, it's an important moment in his life.

"I needed to listen to my heart, I needed to go it alone and make my own decision," he writes in a piece for The Player's Tribune of his decision to leave the Red Bull family for Renault.

"Change is scary - it's ****** terrifying," he admits. "And I know the next part of my journey won't always be easy, but I had to take this step to try to be the best version of me. That's all it was. It was the next step, the next leap, a new challenge.

"I'm going to Renault next year, and I'm going with an open mind and a full heart. Nobody has a crystal ball, or can predict the future or the results of my decision, but nonetheless a decision was made.

"But for now I want to end this year strong. It's not going to be easy, mentally. I know that. Each lap I turn in the car will mean one lap closer to my last in a Red Bull race suit. And when I get out for the final time in Abu Dhabi, I think I'm going to have a right good cry. Maybe a few of 'em. Then winter will come, I'll go meet my new Renault friends, and I'll start anew."

It's a move that some - including Pitpass - had predicted for some time, for whereby previously Mark Webber had played support to Sebastian Vettel it is now clear that Ricciardo would fulfil a similar role alongside 'favoured son' Max Verstappen.

A strong start to the season which included wins in China and, most famously, Monaco, was followed by a lean spell which saw the Australian fail to finish six of twelve races, leading to all manner of conspiracy theories.

However, as he prepares to say farewell to Red Bull, he insists that he feels privileged to have been part of the team.

"At times, this season has been incredibly difficult," he admits. "I've talked about rolling with the punches, but man, even I get sore after a while. I'm human.

"But I really want you all to hear this: I hope everyone understands that Red Bull is so much more than a brand. It's a family, it's a statement of what's possible. If a team can do all this; win football leagues, build the fastest cars, sign the best gamers, run air races, what are we all capable of? Red Bull just does rad s***, and I have loved being a part of it.

"I feel incredibly privileged to have driven for Red Bull Racing and been part of the Red Bull family for 10 years. They gave me my break, and without Dr. Marko spotting me all those years ago, I don't think I would have been able to make my way to F1, to my dream job.

"I will remember this team, these great people, this family, forever. And that thought, right there, is when I found clarity. I've done so much with Red Bull... I've become who I've always wanted to be, right by their side. And I know, I know, that I can leave having given them my everything and having received the same in return."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Paolo, 27/11/2018 21:11

"Wishing Danni Rick all the best for the next couple of years - sadly he is gonna need it"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by klmn, 22/11/2018 13:01

"Now with the Renault big boss and F1 backer Ghosn arrested i hope the car and engine get updates for 2019 and 2020 after thoses years you can bet no F1 anymore for Renault . Maybe only Fe for Renault and Dani and Hulk ... poor boys"

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by imejl99, 22/11/2018 11:45

"I don`t get all that confidence in Renault F1. They know how to make an F1 engine (Williams 5x, own 2x) but have a tendency to be beaten by the teams they supply engines to (Red Bull 4x). 2 championships won by Tuned Mass Damper more than a decade ago suggests that without some innovative genius exploiting rule loophole Ricciardo is doomed to Q2 rest of the best to make Q1, and to fight for points finish in 2019. I really hope I am wrong."

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4. Posted by Thomas1, 22/11/2018 4:37

"Daniel is the next best decision in his effort to become the F1 champ in 2019. The decision is an obvious one. Renault has all the ingredients to make this event happen next year. Apart from the synergy of Star Bull teams, everyone is for himself. Star Bull will become ?Bull next year onwards. If Danial wins F1 crown next year, Mr. Horner may relocate to Renault F1 in some position! Winning is Addictive!"

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5. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 21/11/2018 19:25

"What a truly genuine nice guy he is, Renault have got more than a great race driver."

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