The rumors are over, and the news is official: Daniel Riccardo will officially split from McLaren at the end of the 2022 Formula 1 season, McLaren said Wednesday. The contract, which was initially supposed to run through the 2023 season, will be ended in a buyout.
As it currently stands, Ricciardo has not just been outperformed regularly by teammate Lando Norris — he’s been absolutely demolished. While Ricciardo did score the team’s only win since 2012, that was a rare high point in his career with the team, not a regular occurrence.
From the Associated Press:
“It’s been a privilege to be a part of the McLaren Racing family for the last two seasons,” Ricciardo said in a statement on Wednesday, adding he’d been in talks about his future with McLaren for “several months” before reaching a mutual agreement to end the deal a year early.
“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,” Ricciardo added. “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.”
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The AP reports that McLaren likely paid $15 million to end the contract with Ricciardo, despite Ricciardo seeking more than $20 million. Still, $15 million isn’t bad for someone who isn’t going to be competing.
Now, the door is open. McLaren has been signing a whole slew of drivers to its “family,” many of whom have announced that they’d be McLaren drivers but not where, exactly, they’d be competing.
Oscar Piastri, a Formula 2 champion who was previously part of the Alpine program, is currently believed to be the most likely choice for the seat. Where Ricciardo is destined to go remains to be seen.