Daniel Ricciardo has been confirmed to be a part of McLaren from 2021 in multi-year deal, as Carlos Sainz Jr moves to Scuderia Ferrari.
The F1 driver market has seen some very interesting moves this week and almost completing the puzzle is Daniel Ricciardo, who has been confirmed to drive for McLaren in 2021. The announcement comes just days after Sebastian Vettel announced his departure from Ferrari with Carlos Sainz Jr stepping in next year. Ricciardo replaces Sainz at McLaren and has been signed-on for a multi-year deal. The Australian driver is currently under contract with Renault since 2018, and moved from Red Bull Racing after a decent stint. While Ricciardo’s first year with Renault wasn’t exactly the career best, McLaren, seems more promising, especially with Mercedes engines from next year. Ricciardo will join Land Norris within the team, who enter his third year with McLaren in 2021.
McLaren boss Zak Brown has overseen a major re-organisation since taking over from former chief Ron Dennis, bringing in Andreas Seidl as team principal and James Key as Technical Director as they look to fight their way back to the front of the grid. Landing a highly-rated race winning driver in Ricciardo is another coup for Brown.
Zak Brown, CEO – McLaren Racing said, “Signing Daniel is another step forward in our long-term plan and will bring an exciting new dimension to the team, alongside Lando. This is good news for our team, partners and of course our fans. I also want to pay tribute to Carlos for the excellent job he has been doing for McLaren in helping our performance recovery plan. He is a real team player and we wish him well for his future beyond McLaren.”
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal, McLaren, said, “Daniel is a proven race-winner and his experience, commitment and energy will be a valuable addition to McLaren and our mission to return to the front of the field. With Daniel and Lando as team mates, I believe we have two racers who will continue to excite our fans and help the team grow. Carlos is a true professional, a pleasure to work with and we will continue to enjoy going racing with him this year. We all wish him good luck for the next stage in his career when he leaves McLaren.”
Ricciardo’s time with Renault hasn’t been the best as a number of reliability issues plagued the team. Even as Renault was keen to retain Ricciardo, it seems a disappointing first campaign may have prompted Ricciardo to look elsewhere. That said, the Australian driver tweeted about his departure from Renault and thanked everyone, while also reminding that this chapter wasn’t done yet.
I am so grateful for my time with @renaultf1team and the way I was accepted into the team. But we aren’t done and I can’t wait to get back on the grid this year. My next chapter isn’t here yet, so let’s finish this one strong. Merci pic.twitter.com/YFfzbwrgD7
— Daniel Ricciardo (@danielricciardo) May 14, 2020
The big shake-up has has rejigged the driver line-up for 2021 and that should make things interesting. With Sainz and Leclerc at Ferrari, the Italian team gets its youngest driver pairing in 50 years, while Ricciardo could see himself back in the top order, previously achieved with Red Bull Racing. This does leave a seat for Vettel at Renault, but it begs the question if the German driver will join the French racing outfit. Are there any further driver swaps planned to happen? We’ll know for sure in the coming weeks.