After weeks of speculation over his three-year deal, which was supposed to take him through to the end of 2023, the team and driver announced his departure in a statement.
“It’s been a privilege to be a part of the McLaren Racing family for the last two seasons,” Ricciardo said, adding he’d been in talks about his future with McLaren for “several months” before reaching a mutual agreement to end the deal a year early.
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“I’ll be announcing my own future plans in due course but regardless of what this next chapter brings, I have no regrets and am proud of the effort and work I gave McLaren, especially the win in Monza, last season.
“I’ve never been more motivated to compete and be a part of a sport that I love so much and look forward to what comes next.”
Ricciardo joined the Woking squad ahead of the 2021 season. He has endured two tough seasons, and has been trounced by his young teammate Lando Norris.
Ricciardo currently languishes in 12th in the championship standings with just 19 points. Norris meanwhile lies seventh with 76 points. His best finish of the season was a sixth at the Australian Grand Prix in March, while Norris climbed onto the podium at the Emilia Romagna grand prix at Imola in April.
McLaren head Zak Brown in May acknowledged that Ricciardo’s seat was shaky and said there were “mechanisms” in which the driver and team could split ahead of the 2023 season. The mechanism turned out to be a buyout since Ricciardo held the option on next season.
Although initial reports suggested Ricciardo was seeking more than $29 million to exit the team early, it is believed McLaren paid $22 million to end the contract.
McLaren is widely believed to have signed F2 champion Oscar Piastri, also an Australian, for Ricciardo’s seat. No announcement has been made by McLaren, but Piastri has declined a promotion to F1 with Alpine.
“Daniel has been a great addition to McLaren, and it’s been a pleasure working with him,” said Brown. “It’s no secret that we hoped we could achieve more together but seeing him stand on the top step of the podium as a McLaren driver was a highlight.”
It is unclear where Ricciardo will end up, although a return to Alpine – the team he left at the end of 2020 – is considered likely.
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