F1: Daniel Ricciardo to leave McLaren, Oscar Piastri incoming?

Daniel Ricciardo McLaren F1

McLaren have announced that the team and Daniel Ricciardo have “mutually agreed” to terminate the Australian’s contract with one year remaining.

The 33-year-old joined the Woking-based outfit for 2021 and sensationally won the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. His first win in three years, and the team’s first in nearly nine. Despite this, Ricciardo has struggled to find form in a papaya car and has been often been outperformed by his teammate, Lando Norris.

In a statement, McLaren have said they will announce their new driver to partner Norris “in due course”, but is expected to be fellow Aussie, Oscar Piastri. The F2 Champion in 2021, Piastri sensationally announced that he was not driving for Alpine – for whom he has been Reserve Driver – next year after the French team announced he would replace the outgoing Fernando Alonso, who is moving to Aston Martin.

This series of twists-and-turns in the F1 driver merry-go-round leaves Ricciardo at risk of being without a drive. A potential swap with Piastri to return to Alpine (for whom he drove as Renault in 2019 and 20) is the most realistic option.

In his own statement, Ricciardo professed his enjoyment in working with the team, and “…look[s] forward to what comes next.”

Ricciardo is currently 12th in the Drivers’ Championship with just 19 points, his best finish so far being 6th in his home race in Melbourne. Formula 1 returns this weekend from the summer break at the Belgian Grand Prix. Now with final confirmation of Ricciardo’s departure expect a frantic F1 silly season to kick into a new gear. Despite his exit, Daniel has finished in the points three times over the last six rounds. McLaren will need his best form if they are to hold off Alpine for 4th place in the Constructors’ Championship.

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