[F1 2018 VIDEO FEATURE] DANIEL RICCIARDO: RENAULT BOUND

Bold moves are a Daniel Ricciardo signature. The self-proclaimed Honey Badger is the master of putting brave, unexpected passing manoeuvres on other drivers ... but this was a move absolutely nobody saw coming.

Ricciardo is leaving Red Bull … the team and company that brought him to Formula 1 … to start a new chapter at Renault.

SOUNDBITE (English): DANIEL RICCIARDO
F1 DRIVER, RED BULL RACING
“Sad to move on, absolutely. Excited for the challenge at Renault, but it’s been a 10-year journey with Red Bull.”

After leaving Australia as a teen, Ricciardo’s road to F1 started with seasons in Formula BMW and Formula Renault 2.0 … but after that, the sponsorship well was dry - until Red Bull stepped in.

It backed Ricciardo through another year of Formula Renault 2.0, Formula 3 and then Formula Renault 3.5, marking himself out as a winner every step of the way.

SOUNDBITE (English): DANIEL RICCIARDO:
F1 DRIVER, RED BULL RACING
“I was on the junior program in 2008, some amazing memories from there, things that I’ll always be grateful for and I’ll never forget that ride.”

He arrived in F1 in 2011 and placed in Toro Rosso in 2012 and 2013.

Sebastian Vettel was the only driver to graduate from Red Bull’s junior team to its main squad … but timing is everything. Mark Webber’s retirement opened a door … and Ricciardo made sure he was the one to walk through it.

Red Bull has given him a Formula 1 career … seven grand prix wins and a pair of pole positions. It has given him a platform to showcase his personality and skills, making him a firm fan favourite.

But it has not made him a world champion.

Five seasons of frustration at having a car that can at times win races but not a title … turning an upward trajectory to a plateau.

SOUNDBITE (English): DANIEL RICCIARDO
F1 DRIVER, RED BULL RACING
“I think we're still the top three teams, you know Merc, Ferrari and us. I think we’re still the top three. I feel and hope it's a bit more compressed. I think Merc will probably turn up this weekend and they'll be the ones to beat but hopefully not this far in front.”

Arguably, the biggest reason for Ricciardo to leave Red Bull is on the other side of the garage.

In Max Verstappen, he has a much younger but no-less talented teammate. One who Red Bull didn’t hesitate to sign up to a new deal last October.

Ricciardo’s contract talks took far longer.

As months wore on, hopes of a move to Mercedes or Ferrari faded.

Red Bull gave him the one-year deal he wanted … it gave him the assurances of Honda’s performance that he wanted … he even filmed a contract announcement video. But the papers remained unsigned.

SOUNDBITE (English): DANIEL RICCIARDO
F1 DRIVER, RED BULL RACING
“Personally I felt it was a time now where it was good for me to move on and have a fresh start somewhere else, I think it will be healthy for me.”

Renault’s goal is to return to the top of F1 and it has made steady progress up the grid … but the last step, joining the top teams week-in, week-out is the biggest.

It now has the driver … but it remains to be seen if Renault can make Daniel Ricciardo a world champion.