Daniel Ricciardo said he has “no regrets” about joining McLaren after the team released a statement on Wednesday confirming the Australian’s contract would be terminated at the end of this season by mutual consent. Oscar Piastri, another Australian, is expected to replace Ricciardo at McLaren, although that has yet to be confirmed.
Ricciardo, who joined McLaren in 2021 as one of the hottest properties on the grid but has struggled throughout his time at Woking, said he would announce future plans in due course.
He may well return to Alpine, the team he left to join McLaren for wages believed to be in excess of £20m a season.
After outperforming Sebastian Vettel in his first season at Red Bull; acquitted himself well in three seasons against Max Verstappen; and then seen by Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Ocon at Renault [now Alpine]Ricciardo was expected to provide a rear test for Lando Norris at McLaren.
But it has proved to be a one-sided contest with Ricciardo struggling to get to grips with the car’s characteristics. He managed a memorable win at Monza last year, but finished 45 points and two places behind teammate Lando Norris. This year so far, he is 57 points and five places behind, and qualifies more than three tenths slower on average.
When Piastri recently denied he would step into the Alpine seat to replace the Aston Martin-bound Fernando Alonso, it was thought the Australian star was headed to McLaren to replace Ricciardo. Whether that happens remains to be seen, but Ricciardo’s departure is now official.
“It has been a privilege to be part of the McLaren Racing family for the past two seasons, but after several months of discussions with Zak [Brown, McLaren CEO] & Andreas [Seidl, team principal] “We have decided to terminate my contract with the team early and have agreed to part ways at the end of this season,” the 33-year-old said in a statement. “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 work I gave to McLaren, especially the win at Monza last season.
“I have enjoyed working with everyone at McLaren both at the track and back in Woking and I will give my all on and off the track as we enjoy the rest of the season together. I’ve never been more motivated to compete and be a part of a sport that I love so much and look forward to what’s next.”
“Daniel has always shown up with fighting spirit and positivity”
Seidl said the team would miss Ricciardo’s character. The ever cheerful Australian is one of the most popular drivers on the grid. “I would like to thank Daniel for his dedication and contribution over the last two seasons so far. Despite the common challenges, he has always shown up with fighting spirit and positivity and helped the whole team to always keep pushing forward.
“We will never forget the memorable race win at Monza which was a huge boost for the whole team. We still have an important fight in the Constructors’ Championship ahead of us for the rest of the season and we look forward to battling Daniel and Lando.”
Brown added: “Daniel has been a great addition to McLaren and it’s been a pleasure working with him. I’d like to thank him for all his efforts over the past two seasons, both on the track and in the base. It’s no secret that we hoped we could achieve more together, but to see him on top of the podium as a McLaren driver was a highlight. We wish him well in the future and let’s enjoy the rest of the season together.”