McLaren and Daniel Ricciardo have “mutually agreed” to terminate his contract one year early, meaning the eight-time race winner will depart at the end of the 2022 campaign.
The Australian joined McLaren for 2021 on a three-year deal, racing alongside Lando Norris, and while he secured the team’s first win since 2012 at Monza last year – with Norris second – he has struggled to match his teammate’s very impressive pace.
On the eve of the Belgian Grand Prix, as Formula 1 returns from its summer break, Ricciardo and McLaren announced they would complete the final nine races of the year together before going their separate ways.
McLaren say they will announce who will partner Norris in 2023 “in due course” Ricciardo will do the same regarding his own future plans, but suggested he’s keen to stay in F1.
“It’s been a privilege to be a part of the McLaren Racing family for the last two seasons but following 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 agree to mutually part ways at the end of this season,” the Australian was quoted as saying by Formula1.com.
“I’ll be announcing my own future plans in due course but regardless of what this next chapter brings, I have no regrets and am proud of the effort and work I gave McLaren, especially the win in Monza, last season.
“I’ve enjoyed working with everyone at McLaren both trackside and back in Woking and will be giving my all on and off track as we enjoy the remainder 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 comes next.”
Seidl said, “I would like to thank Daniel for his dedication and contribution over the last two seasons so far. Despite the shared challenges, he has always turned up with a fighting spirit and positivity and helped the entire team to always keep pushing forward.
“We will never forget that memorable race win in Monza which was a great boost for the whole team. We still have an important battle in the constructors’ championship ahead of us for the remainder of the season and we look forward to battle this out with Daniel and Lando.”
Team mate Lando Norris also posted his own message of support to Ricciardo after the news was announced.
“From that moment in Monza, to the laughs we’ve had out of the car, it’s been a joy working with you these last two years. Whatever’s next I wish you all the best, let’s have a mega next few months,” he wrote on his Twitter feed.
Ricciardo is currently 12th in the drivers’ standings on 19 points, 57 adrift of Norris after 13 Grands Prix. His best finish of the year was sixth in Australia, while Norris has four top-six finishes including a podium at Imola.
(Inputs from IANS)