After lots of speculation, Daniel Ricciardo has confirmed that he will not be part of the McLaren driver lineup for 2023.
The 8-time Grand Prix winner delivered the news via Twitter.
Ricciardo described the news as bittersweet.
“2022 will be my last year with McLaren,” he said. “Obviously we put in a lot of effort on both sides, but it just hasn’t worked the way we wanted, so the team’s decided to make a change for next year.”
The Aussie added that he and the team were on the same page that parting ways was best for both of them.
Ricciardo also confirmed that he will finish the 2022 season with McLaren, and added that he looks back on his time in Woking with a smile.
“I learned a lot about myself, things that will help me for the next step in my career, but I think, just in general, in life.”
Why Did McLaren Need To Move On?
The short answer is that Ricciardo failed to find success with any regularity while at McLaren. He has been consistently out-qualified and out-raced by teammate Lando Norris. Last season, Norris led Ricciardo in points 160-115 and leads him this season 76-19 through 13 races.
The irony of the whole situation is that while Ricciardo failed to live up to the lofty expectations he faced when he first hopped into the cockpit at McLaren, he was responsible for delivering the team’s best result in a decade.
Ricciardo took the checkered flag at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix — with Norris behind him in P2 — to nab the team’s first victory since the 2012 season.
Unfortunately, those results didn’t come frequently enough and his poor showings outweighed the glimpses of top-tier talent that everyone knows he has.
It remains to be seen who will take Ricciardo’s spot. The belief is it will be Alpine reserve driver Oscar Piastri. However, Piastri is embroiled in some contract drama with Alpine.
McLaren has some talent on their books already. In IndyCar, they have Pato O’Ward, Felix Rosenqvist, and former F1 driver Alexander Rossi under contract. They may even have 2021 IndyCar champ Alex Palou, depending on how his contract dispute with his current team — Chip Ganassi Racing — plays out.
Andretti Autosports’ IndyCar Colton Herta has a connection to the team as well. He took part in a test earlier this season.
What’s Next For Ricciardo?
Ricciardo said he doesn’t know what is next for him, but he has quite a few options.
It would be a safe bet that Ricciardo’s preference would be to stay in F1, but he would probably have to move further down the grid to do that. ESPN reported that Haas team principal and world-class swearer Guenther Steiner was in contact with Ricciardo.
Haas has had a reasonably competitive season, which makes them a more attractive ride than other teams on the grid. It would make a lot of sense for Haas too. Ricciardo is immensely popular stateside, and signing with the only US-based team on the grid would be a nice fit.
If F1 opportunities fall through, Ricciardo could also make the move to McLaren’s new Formula E team alongside newly announced driver Rene Rast. However, it sounded like Ricciardo and McLaren were cutting ties completely, so him being part of their lineup in the all-electric, single-seater series seems unlikely.
He could also come to North America and try to take on IndyCar or even NASCAR. The latter is a long shot, but the life-long Dale Earnhardt has expressed interest in stock cars. He even drove one of Earnhardt’s cars at last year’s United States Grand Prix
Whether he stays in F1 or not, Daniel Ricciardo will have no shortage of options for next season.
Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle