Daniel Ricciardo issues bleary-eyed statement after McLaren stint cut short

Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo at 2022 McLaren launch

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Daniel Ricciardo has spoken out on the announcement that he and McLaren will part ways at the end of the 2022 season. The development calls time on a prolonged period of speculation around the Aussie’s future, with his seat presumed to be under threat after a string of underwhelming performances.

Ricciardo’s statement came after McLaren had announced the ‘mutually agreed’ split, which was instigated by the team. The eight-time Grand Prix winner had struggled to keep pace with team-mate Lando Norris since joining from Renault in 2021. 

The 33-year-old has amassed less than one third of the points racked up by Norris at this stage of the season and reigning F2 champion Oscar Piastri is expected to take his place in 2023. Ricciardo appeared devastated as he shed more light on the situation on Wednesday afternoon, with his contract set to be cut short by 12 months. 

“I wanted to share some news,” he said in a video posted on Twitter. “It’s not great, it’s bittersweet for sure but I thought it’s best that you hear it from me. 2022 will be my last year with McLaren. We put in a lot of effort on both sides but it hasn’t worked the way we wanted so the team has decided to make a change for next year.

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“We had a lot of discussions but in the end we mutually agreed that it was the right thing for both us. I will continue to give it my all this year so that’s that. For the future, what lies ahead, I’m not sure yet but we’ll see. I look back on this time with McLaren with a smile. I learned a lot about myself, things that will help in the next step of my career and in life.

“From a results point of view, to consistently get the results I was after, wasn’t always there. It made some weekends tough. I felt those, absolutely. But I also have many happy memories of my time with the team and I think about Monza, standing on the top step and bringing the team their first win since 2012. That sort of stuff was awesome.

“To see the smiles on everyone’s faces, that’s something I’ll never forget. There’s a lot of good stuff to take. The sport, I still love it. This hasn’t affected any of that. I still have that fire in me and that belief in my belly that I can do this at the highest level. I appreciate everyone’s support through the highs and lows. This isn’t it for me but we’ll see what lies ahead.”

Ricciardo had previously shunned speculation that his stint with McLaren could be cut short and insisted that his relationship with team principal Zak Brown was in a good place. The team boss had hinted at mechanisms in the former Red Bull star’s contract that would allow them to legally part ways, fuelling speculation that the team were looking to make a change. 

It remains to be seen where Ricciardo will go next with Alpine, AlphaTauri and Williams all believed to be possibilities. Earlier this summer the F1 veteran spoke to Express Sport about the stresses and strains that come with competing in a high-stakes sport – particularly when things aren’t going to plan. 

“I enjoy [the pressure],” he insisted. “It’s a privilege because it means it’s something you care about and there’s something worth fighting for. If it creates a little bit of stress or extra pressure, if it creates emotion and feeling then it’s a good thing. To deal with it, you have to find a way to enjoy it and see the positives of why you feel stressed. It’s because you care. To be able to do something you love and care for so much is a privilege so that’s the spin I take on it.”

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