Daniel Ricciardo confirmed today that he will exit the Renault team at the end of the 2020 season.
It was also revealed that he had successfully signed a multi-year deal with McLaren which is set to give the Australian Formula One driver a massive platform to further advance his career.
Ricciardo, who is now 30, had been identified as a potential replacement for the four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari . Vettel had elected to walk away from the successful Italian team at the conclusion of the 2020 season after contract negotiations there had stalled.
At Renault, Vettel will be replaced by McLaren’s Carlos Sainz.
The opening at McLaren came with Sainz’s departure, after McLaren relinquished an option it had on his services for 2021. This of course allowed Ricciardo to pair with young Briton Lando Norris, with both drivers set to receive equal equipment and opportunity as McLaren looks to re-join the fight at the front of the F1 field with Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull Racing.
“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,” McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl said in a statement.
“With Daniel and Lando as teammates, I believe we have two racers who will continue to excite our fans and help the team grow.”
This isn’t really a new maneuver as Ricciardo had numerous discussions with McLaren previously, about a move for the 2019 season before electing to sign with Renault for two years.
Both McLaren and Renault used Renault engines last year, with McLaren emerging on top to finish fourth in the constructors’ championship, and scoring its first podium finish in six years when Sainz finished third in Brazil.
For the 2021 season, McLaren have advised that they will switch to Mercedes engines, which have been part of a win of all six world championships since the sport moved to turbo hybrid engines in 2014.