Daniel Ricciardo has agreed a multi-year deal to move to McLaren for the 2021 Formula 1 season after just two years at Renault.

The Australian will replace Carlos Sainz, who will move to Ferrari to fill the seat vacated by Sebastian Vettel following his departure when his contract expires at the end of the year.

Ricciardo will join Lando Norris to complete a revised driver line-up for the Woking outfit in 2021, the same year McLaren is switching power unit supplier from Renault to return to Mercedes engines.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown 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 [Sainz] 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.”

It will mark Ricciardo’s second major career move in 24 months, after his bombshell exit from Red Bull in order to join Renault.

Ricciardo came close to signing for McLaren when he was weighing up his future in the summer of 2018. In the end he chose Renault because the French manufacturer was more competitive at the time.

He moved to Renault at the same time Sainz left Enstone for McLaren and the two team's fortunes diverged in 2019 as McLaren made huge progress and convincingly beat Renault to fourth place in the constructors’ championship.

Signing Ricciardo acts as a further boost for McLaren as it seeks to continue its impressive recent upward trajectory having endured some woeful struggles in the early years of the V6 hybrid era.

McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl added: “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 teammates, 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 departure leaves a spare seat at Renault alongside Esteban Ocon, who is contracted to the team until the end of 2021.

Double world champion Fernando Alonso has been linked with a third stint at the Enstone squad with whom he won both his world titles in 2005 and 2006.

Vettel has also been mentioned as a possible contender but according to reports in German media, the 32-year-old will retire from F1 if he is unable to secure a seat at reigning world champions Mercedes.

Renault has also made its intentions clear that it wants to promote one of its young drivers into an F1 seat in the coming years.

 

Comments

Loading Comments...