Daniel Ricciardo to leave McLaren after F1 team terminates driver’s contract early | Formula One
Daniel Ricciardo has been ousted by McLaren after the British F1 team terminated his contract. Eight-time Grand Prix winner Ricciardo had a contract until the end of 2023, and last month insisted he is “committed to McLaren until the end of next year”.
But the McLaren hierarchy decided to end the 33-year-old’s disappointing two-season stay with the team by paying off the final season of his contract. Ricciardo will leave McLaren at the end of the current season and is expected to be replaced by the much-loved 21-year-old Oscar Piastri.
This month Alpine announced that Piastri, a reserve driver for the French team, would be racing for them next season – only for the Aussie to say he wasn’t – the Formula 2 champion would have already agreed terms with McLaren.
McLaren said they would announce their plans for next season in due course. Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, Ricciardo said: “It has been a privilege to be part of the McLaren Racing family over the past two seasons, but after several months of discussions with [McLaren CEO] Zak Brown and [team principal] Andreas Seidl, we have decided to terminate my contract with the team early and agree to part ways with each other at the end of this season.
“I will announce my own future plans in due course, but whatever this next chapter brings, I have no regrets and am proud of the effort and hard work I put in at McLaren, in particular the victory at Monza, last season.
“I have enjoyed working with everyone at McLaren both on track and in Woking and I will be giving it my all on and off the track as we enjoy the rest of the season together. I have never been more motivated to to compete and be part of a sport that I love so much and can’t wait to see what’s next.
Brown said this season that former Red Bull and Renault driver Ricciardo had failed to live up to his expectations since joining the team last year.
Although Ricciardo ended McLaren’s nine-year drought with victory at the Italian Grand Prix last season, he was still outclassed by Briton Lando Norris. Norris has qualified ahead of Ricciardo in 11 of 13 races in 2022 and has scored 57 points more than his teammate.
Brown said: “Daniel has been a great addition to McLaren, and it has been a pleasure to work with him. I want to thank him for all his efforts over the past two seasons, both on the track and at the base. It’s no secret that we hoped we could achieve more together, but seeing him take the top step of the podium as a McLaren driver was a highlight. We wish him well for the future and enjoy the rest of the season together.
Ricciardo’s future is unclear. He could replace Aston Martin-linked Fernando Alonso at Alpine – the team he left to join McLaren – while Alfa Romeo, Haas and Williams have yet to announce their plans for 2023.
Brown added: “We’re not going to get into contractual details with Daniel, other than that we’ve come to a very friendly and pleasant solution. It’s fair to say that we’re surprised the deal hasn’t gone through. He has a fantastic CV, and I hope he finds his form in a new environment.
“We have no knowledge of his plans, other than his desire to be on the grid, and we are optimistic that Daniel will be in F1 next year.”