Ricciardo leaving Red Bull, who have won three races this season, for a Renault team, who are now around a second-a-lap slower, would certainly be a shock, especially as the two outfits are at odds over engines at the moment.
"It was probably one of the most hard decisions to take in my career so far", said Ricciardo, who made his F1 debut with the short-lived HRT outfit in 2011 and drove for Red Bull's sister team Toro Rosso in 2012 and 2013.
"Personally I felt it was a time where it was good to move on and have a fresh start somewhere else". I hope to be able to help them in this journey and contribute on and off track.
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.
We know who Ricciardo's Renault teammate will be.
Until Red Bull decide, Sainz's hands are tied and any other move - and McLaren have expressed interest - must remain on hold.
But Ricciardo still insists he will give his all for the team and wants to finish his final year with the Austrian outfit on a high.
Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul said the signing of the gifted extrovert underlined their ambitions.
Ricciardo drove for Renault in Formula 1's developmental levels from 2007-2011 and has driven a Renault-powered vehicle ever since joining Red Bull Racing.
The most likely outcome, since Sainz is a member of the Red Bull family through the Toro Rosso team and was only on a one-year "loan", is a straight swap. Renault is Red Bull's current engine provider.
But his switch to Renault scuppers expectations Esteban Ocon was on the cusp of moving to the French team for 2019 from Force India.
Brown certainly wasn't surprised by Ricciardo's decision to leave Red Bull, where he's been for the past five seasons in Formula 1.
"I was on the junior program in 2008, some fantastic memories from there, things that I'll always be grateful for and I'll never forget that ride".
Horner summed up the situation for his team, "We will now continue to evaluate the numerous options available to us before deciding on which driver partners Max Verstappen for the 2019 season".
Ricciardo had wanted a two-year deal to keep his options open and on a par with top drivers, including four-times world champions Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who also have contracts up to 2020. "We've got nine races left to kick some ass, so let's get it".
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