Ricciardo braced for McLaren exit and will be ‘sitting on the couch at home’

Formula One legend Jacques Villenueve has told Daniel Ricciardo he is finished at McLaren and will soon be 'sitting on the couch at home'.

The Australian has endured a disappointing stint with the team he joined in 2021 and has been significantly outperformed by teammate Lando Norris, including in the last round at Monaco.

Prior to the weekend, McLaren boss Zak Brown admitted that Ricciardo has not hit the team's expectations and also revealed that the team has an option for an early end to his contract that runs until 2023.

That has increased pressure upon Ricciardo who endured another poor showing in Monte Carlo, where he crashed in practice and could only manage a 13th-placed finish, while teammate Norris came sixth and secured the fastest lap of the race.

Therefore, Villenueve believes that the writing is on the wall for Ricciardo and he's set for an exit from the team, writing in his column: "Daniel Ricciardo's time at McLaren is over. It's a way to put the pressure on the driver and prepare the media. Ultimately, he has been a highly-paid driver who has cost the team a lot of money.

"He doesn't bring in any points and he doesn't have the speed the team needs to develop the car. So he's just costing them money. It would be cheaper for them to continue paying Ricciardo's salary, let him sit on the couch at home and put another driver in the car. It's a harsh reality, but that's Formula 1."

Ricciardo has already been warned in the aftermath of the Monaco Grand Prix that rumours of a McLaren exit are 'getting louder', with the experienced driver potentially set for his final year on the Formula One grid.

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The former Red Bull and Renault driver has spent over a decade in F1 since joining HRT in 2011, securing eight victories in his career from over 200 entries.

Ricciardo's racing career is likely to continue beyond F1, with the Australian a big NASCAR fan and previously not ruling out the possibility of driving in the American racing series in the future when speaking to Insider earlier this year.

"A road course or something would be fun, but I'll walk before I can run. It's such a different discipline that I'll want to do some testing and kind of see where I'm at. And let's say if that all went well and I had good confidence in the car, then, you know, I might put my hand up, but I wouldn't jump to conclusions. It's a very different beast."

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