McLaren have confirmed that Daniel Ricciardo will race for the team alongside Lando Norris from 2021 Formula One season.
Ricciardo will join McLaren on a multi-year deal after a failed two-season experiment with Renault, which will come to an end at end of this season.
This announcement paves the way for Carlos Sainz to depart the team for Ferrari at end of season as heavily rumoured, with confirmation of that move expected within the next 24 hours.
Speaking of the decision to sign Ricciardo, McLaren Racing CEO, Zak Brown described it as “.. another step forward in our long-term plan and will bring an exciting new dimension to the team alongside Lando.
Brown also paid tribute to Sainz’s “…excellent job he has been doing for McLaren in helping our performance recovery plan.” and described the Spaniard as a “real team player…” and wishes him well for his future.
Team Principal, Andreas Seidl meanwhile believes that Ricciardo’s “… experience, commitment and energy will be a valuable addition…” in McLaren’s aim to return to the front of the field.
Seidl also paid Sainz tribute by describing him as a “true professional, a pleasure to work with…” as he too wishes Sainz luck for the future.
Ricciardo himself took to Twitter to state that he is ‘grateful’ to Renault for having him as a driver and remains committed to Enstone until end of season, saying that his ‘next chapter isn’t here 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
Renault in turn tweeted to confirm that Ricciardo is definitely departing at end of season, saying that discussions over renewing his contract ‘… have not been successful.’
Renault DP World F1 Team and Daniel Ricciardo will not continue collaboration beyond 2020
Within the unprecedented context of the 2020 season, discussions held with Daniel Ricciardo concerning a renewal of his contract beyond the end of 2020 have not been successful.#RSspirit pic.twitter.com/dO7G6YW4Sm
— Renault F1 Team (@RenaultF1Team) May 14, 2020
Promising Pairing for McLaren
Partnering Ricciardo alongside Norris is a promising pairing for McLaren who have stated that their mission is to return towards the front of the grid.
Seidl in particular feels that Ricciardo and Norris could be a fun exciting pairing by saying that he hopes their driver lineup will “excite our fans and help the team grow.”
Brown meanwhile made reference to “… exciting new dimension…” which suggests that we could well be in store for plenty of laughs because Ricciardo is hugely popular for his cheery personality, whilst Norris is perhaps the joker of the grid.
Either way, the signing of Ricciardo is a massive coup for a team of McLaren’s current stature alongside confirmation of Norris’ future and one which could be a marketing pull if the team can utilise the humour aspect of both drivers well off-track.