Daniel Ricciardo has reportedly put a price to an early end of his McLaren contract so as to vacate the seat for fellow Aussie, Oscar Piastri for 2023.
The F1 driver market is in full swing with driver moves up and down the grid. Aston Martin driver, Sebastian Vettel announced his retirement from the sport at end of 2022. Aston Martin then signed Fernando Alonso from Alpine as his replacement.
Alonso’s move to Aston Martin freed a seat at Alpine. Alpine then made an announcement that F2 Champion and Alpine junior, Oscar Piastri will be racing for them in 2023. Piastri, however, shockingly denied this announcement and claimed he will not be driving for Alpine in 2023.
It was later learned that the Australian had signed with McLaren for 2023 in Hungary. Reports also said that Ricciardo was told by McLaren that they intend to replace him with Piastri.
However, with Ricciardo’s contract running till 2023, McLaren will have to convince him to exercise the exit clause and leave the team, since only the driver can exercise that. The other way will be to pay the Aussie off.
Ricciardo made it clear that he will not take the earlier option and according to Australia’s SpeedCafe, the Honey Badger has put in an initial price of $21m for his seat.
But the price is expected to fall and the full amount will only be paid if Ricciardo doesn’t find a seat in F1 next year.
If he does find a seat for the next season, his salary amount would be repaid to McLaren.
What went wrong for Ricciardo and McLaren
Sadly, a marriage with high expectations is coming to an unceremonious end.
Ricciardo was hired by McLaren to lead the team from the front with his enormous experience as an 8-time race winner. But he failed to get to grips with the unique McLaren car and was comprehensively outperformed by Lando Norris in 2021 and 2022.
While Ricciardo admitted that his performances have not been up to the mark, he claims that progress has been made to get better with the car.
“This time last year there was probably a little more head-scratching from everyone.”
“I think that’s because…the truth is, they just expected me to get into the team and kick ass. So there was probably still some pure head-scratching, like ‘hmmm, what’s happening?’
“That was probably overriding what needed to happen. I’m just speculating, but maybe too much energy was put into the why’s and this and that before it was ‘what do we need to do now to make him feel better?’.
“But this year, there’s more understanding and they know me now after a year, so I think it’s very clear what I like in a car, and even I’ve found this out.
“So when I struggle, the team now are like ‘oh, I can see it in the data, this is what Daniel is feeling and he’s proven in the last 18 months this is what he doesn’t like to feel. This is what’s holding him back from pushing the car to the limit, it’s this area here’.
“Whereas last year, it was still a little bit of ‘f***, what is it? What’s holding him back? Why’s he so much off the pace?”
Although his future is up in the air, Ricciardo is keen to finish the season with a bang.
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