Daniel Ricciardo opens up on ending his F1 contract with McLaren and what’s in for future, while he adds on situation with Oscar Piastri and Mark Webber.

It was finally announced on Wednesday that Ricciardo was to leave McLaren at the end of the current campaign. There were rumours circulating over the last number of months about the future of the Australian and now it is official insofar as he won’t see out the third year of his contract.

From what transpired, McLaren noted about ongoing talks with Ricciardo for long, which the Australian affirmed too and that it was not an out of blue situation. Despite that, he is of course disappointed to have ended his term with the F1 team in this way.

There is no hard feelings with the team and even the speculated driver to join McLaren i.e Oscar Piastri and his manager Mark Webber, with whom Ricciardo share a good bond. Looking ahead, the Australian hasn’t got something in hand but F1 remains his priority.

Sabbatical is not out of picture too, but the main goal to remain in F1 because even a year out makes things tricky. It is not often that Ricciardo has had to face such a tricky time in his career as so far, he has been in the hype seat when dealing about his future.

Initial thoughts and feelings –

Ricciardo: “Yeah, obviously, it’s not, the result we wanted, in terms of when I joined the team. The outcome, this wasn’t desired. As a collective though, we just didn’t really get it right. We put in a lot of effort and tried to understand, things with the car and obviously myself gelling with it and getting the maximum out of it, but there was just too many weekends, where it was obviously just a bit of a struggle. So that was pretty much how that kind of decision came about.

“It’s obviously not the nicest feeling, but I can hold my head high in terms of applying myself and trying to make it work, like trying to put everything in. Sometimes you just have to accept that, okay, I try it and it didn’t necessarily work out. But, from that point of view, I don’t look back in terms of ‘man, I was slacking off, and that’s why, like, I earned this’,  or whatever. It’s just one of those things. I’m proud of the way we tried to make it happen and persist through it, but some things maybe you just say that they’re not meant to be.”

Next, sabbatical –

Ricciardo: “I still love the sport and I think through all of this – I guess call it adversity – I haven’t lost that confidence in myself. For sure, we’ve had some tough weekends and you can’t help but show emotion sometimes but I still love it and I still want to do it competitively. I want to do it in the right place. I never said I want to just be a driver to make up the numbers. You know, if I’m here I want to be here for a purpose. So, I don’t know what that means yet for the future. But of course, if it’s the right opportunity, then this is where I want to be.”

“Sabbatical? If it made sense? Yes. If it makes sense. It’s the only racing I’m interested in at this stage of my career. F1, it’s what I love and it’s where I see myself if I’m doing any racing. But as I said, if, let’s say, the stars don’t align, and it doesn’t make perfect sense next year, and if it means taking that time off to kind of reset or re-evaluate, then if that’s the right thing to do, then I’m willing to.”

Good times, bad times, dedication to remainder of season –

Ricciardo: “I think like picking myself up is, I don’t want to say it’s easy, but it’s something I feel I’m very capable of doing. This is certainly a big moment in time for my career. But even if things aren’t maybe always highlighted you’re always going through challenges, or you always have to pick yourself up you know. I remember actually here in 2008, when I was racing in the Formula Renault Junior category, it was like a Saturday night before the race on Sunday, and I got like a real pep talk. I was just in one of those moments in my career at the time and I still hadn’t yet made it but I knew that I really had to pull my head in kind of thing and start making it happen. So you always go through these… I mean, no one has a perfect career. So I think I’ve learned to deal with it over time. For sure, now this is another challenge, another hurdle, but I simply see it as, if I want to pick myself up, I will. As I said that, that fire, that belief is still in me. So it’s really just a choice that, you know, if I want to make that choice, I can. And obviously, I don’t have every option on the grid or anything, you know, and it’s not like I can race wherever I want but in terms of just from a self-worth point of view, absolutely.”

McLaren conduct on dealing with the situation –

Ricciardo: “Yeah, it wasn’t dropped. It wasn’t just a random call one day that ‘hey, this is what we’re doing’. We’d been in dialogue for really the last few months. And it wasn’t always, it wasn’t like ‘don’t top five this race and you’re done’. But it was more, you know, what can we do? How can we as a collective, try to keep making this work? And, obviously, I’d try to give feedback on obviously the things I would struggle with on the car, and there was a lot of, I guess, dialogue, but also that was, you know, I understood that was also a point of concern, because the results I was getting were not up to, I guess, the level that we all thought they could have been. So we did talk, yeah, I certainly want to say months about it, and ways to try and rectify the issues, but then also, potentially, like, ‘Okay, what next? What now?’ And we kind of just came to, unfortunately, a bit of a dead end, where we felt like we’d exhausted most things that were at least in reach at the time. And that’s when obviously, they made the decision.”

Situation with Oscar Piastri, Mark Webber –

Ricciardo: “I honestly still don’t know what the future holds for Oscar. But yeah, I mean, from the terms of that, it’s just business. And obviously Mark’s just doing his job for Oscar. So I don’t take any of that personal. Assuming Oscar… I think he is kind of guaranteed a spot on the grid next year somewhere. So I will support him, and I will support a fellow Aussie and yeah, I don’t I don’t take it personal. And you had a second part of the question. Have I heard from him? No. I don’t think there’s been a reason for him to reach out. I said, I’m sure they’re going through their stuff as well. So yeah, I’ve obviously been trying to sort my stuff out.”

Online backlash towards Piastri, Brown and Webber –

Ricciardo: “Well, I’m not going to tell them not to support me! But yeah, look, as I touched on earlier with a previous question, it’s obviously… People will feel, I guess, emotional towards the decision. But it’s business, in terms of… As I said, Mark’s looking out for Oscar, he’s got a job to do for him. So you know, that’s where this is… It’s a sport, but business at the same time, so you have to kind of put yourself first, if you will. And that’s that. It’s not certainly not the outcome I wanted, you know, and as I said, when I joined the team, I had a much different idea of how it would go. But it’s the reality of the situation. And obviously, that’s where Zak and the team felt like it was going so that was that. But yeah, I don’t know. Happy to have the support, but I don’t want to condone any negative feelings towards others.”

It is a pity that the marriage came to an end early. There were myriad of rumours since for the 2023 season with regards to Alpine and maybe even Haas as Ricciardo is still a popular driver with something to give to wherever he goes, but only time will tell where he ends up eventually.
Here’s Fernando Alonso on his side of things


Here’s news of Daniel Ricciardo departure

Here’s James Key on McLaren development

Here’s Lando Norris on works need to be done by McLaren