Daniel Ricciardo will leave the Renault squad and join the McLaren F1 Team from the start of the 2021 F1 World Championship.
McLaren have confirmed their line-up for the 2021 F1 World Championship, with Carlos Sainz departing the team. The Woking squad have signed Daniel Ricciardo on a ‘multi-year’ agreement to race at McLaren from the 2021 season onwards.
Following on from the shock announcement on Monday that Sebastian Vettel will depart Ferrari at the end of 2020, the first of the driver market dominos has already fallen.
Ricciardo will race alongside Lando Norris, who is retained for his third consecutive season with the team.
Renault confirmed Ricciardo’s departure after two years with the French squad, while McLaren CEO Zak Brown said Ricciardo’s signing is an ‘exciting’ one for the team: “Signing Daniel is another step forward in our long-term plan and will bring an exciting new dimension to the team, alongside Lando. This is good news for our team, partners and of course our fans.”
“I also want to pay tribute to Carlos for the excellent job he has been doing for McLaren in helping our performance recovery plan. He is a real team player and we wish him well for his future beyond McLaren.”
Ricciardo switched to Renault in a shock move from Red Bull Racing at the end of 2018, a move from an established top team to the midfield. With Renault taking a step backwards in 2019, Ricciardo’s head was turned by the possibility of racing with McLaren as they switch to Mercedes power next season.
Renault team boss Cyril Abiteboul hinted that Ricciardo didn’t have much faith in the team’s ability to progress, saying: “In our sport, and particularly within the current extraordinary situation, reciprocated confidence, unity and commitment are, more than ever, critical values for a works team. I am confident that the 2020 season will allow us to accomplish even more together. Our ambitions and the strategy of Renault DP World F1 Team remain unchanged.”
McLaren’s Andreas Seidl said the new line-up of Ricciardo and Norris is an exciting one: “Daniel is a proven race-winner and his experience, commitment and energy will be a valuable addition to McLaren and our mission to return to the front of the field. With Daniel and Lando as teammates, I believe we have two racers who will continue to excite our fans and help the team grow.”
“Carlos is a true professional, a pleasure to work with and we will continue to enjoy going racing with him this year. We all wish him good luck for the next stage in his career when he leaves McLaren.”
Where Carlos Sainz is off to remains unconfirmed, but it’s expected to be Vettel’s vacant seat at Ferrari, while Renault’s driver line-up is completely up in the air – Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso are distinct possibilities for a return to the F1 grid.