No one expected it, least of all his own team thus Daniel Ricciardo agreeing on a big bucks deal to join Renault on a two-year stint goes down as the News of the Year in my book.
The decision, announced in the heat of summer, shocked the entire paddock, the surprise element of the transaction was a jaw-dropper. It simply came out of the blue!
Big credit to Cyril Abiteboul for targeting the Australian – one of only seven grand prix winners on the grid next year – to spearhead the French team’s efforts alongside Nico Hulkenberg.
Abiteboul clearly read the situation at Red Bull, whereby Max Verstappen emerged as the chosen one, a fact that irked Ricciardo, whose decision would no doubt have also been influenced by Red Bull opting to go the route of Honda power – a step into the unknown for all concerned.
Ricciardo made his choice, although undeniably brave only time will tell if it was the right one. For now, his salary puts him up there with the big boys which is where he belongs.
For him to agree on terms with Renault and depart his alma mater, suggests that Abiteboul had all the answers to lure the Aussie away, in what must go down as one the driver coup of the decade.