Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo is quitting Red Bull at the end of the season and joining Renault on a two-year deal, as the French team signalled Friday their intent to bring back their Formula One glory days.
But with Max Verstappen the third highest paid driver on the grid, he may have felt like the time was right to move on, because even if Red Bull were to give him a championship-winning vehicle, then they may heavily favour the young Dutchman when push came to shove.
"It was probably one of the most hard 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".
Renault, with drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz, is fourth in the constructors' standings.
The confirmation of the news come not long afterwards when Renault sent out an official release stating Ricciardo had signed for two-years where he'll partner Nico Hulkenberg.
After two seasons with Scuderia Toro Rosso, Daniel joined Red Bull in 2014. Either way, Ricciardo seems to have put faith in the team which challenged Schumacher in his dominant years and made Alonso champion.
Red Bull was its headline team at first, or at least until Abiteboul arrived with a win-at-all-costs approach, but it lost confidence this year and will line up with Honda power from 2019. Ricciardo added: "I hope to be able to help them in this journey".
It would be the same at Red Bull, too.
Sainz and Verstappen were together at Toro Rosso in 2015 and for a few races in 2016 before Verstappen was promoted to Red Bull Racing.
The unexpectedly open seat at Red Bull is now one of the most appealing targets on the F1 grid for next season.
At Haas, one of two Ferrari "satellite" teams, the likely pairing for 2019 is current driver Jan Magnussen with Charles Leclerc, who will be promoted from Alfa Romeo-Sauber on the way to an eventual drive at Ferrari. "In the meantime, there are still nine races left in 2018 and we are fully focused on maximizing every opportunity for Max and Daniel for the remainder of the season".
DANIEL Ricciardo has shocked Red Bull by telling them he's leaving at the end of the season.