Daniel Ricciardo is leaving Red Bull

Ricciardo

Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo's shock move to the Renault Formula 1 team for 2019 has been confirmed.

Ricciardo had been out of contract at the end of the year and was assessing his options, but any hope of joining champion Mercedes disappeared when it retained titleholder Lewis Hamilton and Finland's Valtteri Bottas.

Ricciardo, a two-time victor this season, is now fifth in the drivers' standings, 95 points adrift of championship leader Lewis Hamilton.

It is expected that Ricciardo will make the switch to Renault for 2019, partnering Nico Hulkenberg.

It is unclear who Red Bull will now draft in to replace Ricciardo.

It follows a weekend in which Red Bull's Max Verstappen retired from the Hungarian Grand Prix with another Renault reliability problem and team boss Christian Horner lashed out at its engine supplier.

Ricciardo wanted a move to Ferrari but that was never likely with Sebastian Vettel, his former Red Bull team-mate, thought to be opposed to the idea of having the Australian in the same auto.

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Horner said they "respected" Ricciardo's decision and will "continue to evaluate the numerous options available to us" for his replacement.

Sportsmail understands that the 29-year-old Australian has been in talks with the French works team and will commit his future to them, starting next season.

Renault are now fourth in the Constructors' Championship and are yet to win a race since returning to the sport as a fully-fledged team three years ago when they bought Lotus.

"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".

Renault Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul added: "Daniel's signing underscores our determination to accelerate our progress towards the forefront of the sport".

"Daniel's undoubted talent and charisma are a huge bonus and statement for the team".

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