French Grand Prix – Rumours of a shock switch to McLaren from Daniel Ricciardo are doing the rounds ahead of racing in France.
With Formula 1’s biggest news of the week being the switch of Red Bull from Renault to Honda power, attention has now turned to what the Red Bull’s team’s drivers make of the change. With Honda still unproven in the Hybrid era, there’s every possibility that the switch of supplier could prove disastrous in 2019. While Max Verstappen remains under contract next year, Daniel Ricciardo’s agreement comes to an end. Rumours of a switch to Mercedes or Ferrari ran rampant even before the engine change, but a new rumour has suggested that McLaren have made a big money move to try grabbing the Australian.
According to quotes attributed to Germany’s Bild, Red Bull’s Helmut Marko has said that “Our Daniel Ricciardo is the king of the market. McLaren offers him more every week,” – these offers apparently go as high as 20 million US dollars a year.
McLaren’s driver future is uncertain. Fernando Alonso, having just won at Le Mans with Toyota, has his eyes firmly set on the Indy 500 for next year in his quest for motorsport’s ‘Triple Crown’; there is a chance he may want to leave F1 completely in order to tackle other challenges. While McLaren do have Lando Norris waiting in the wings, the possible line-up of Stoffel Vandoorne & Norris is unproven at this level.
Ricciardo’s next move is likely dependent on what Mercedes & Lewis Hamilton do. Hamilton is yet to formally agree a deal with Merc for 2019, while Bottas is also up for renewal. Ferrari may also have a possible seat opening, should they decide to let Kimi Raikkonen depart.
It’s certainly not beyond the realms of possibility that McLaren have made a lucrative offer to Daniel Ricciardo to switch allegiances. How seriously Ricciardo contemplates the offer will likely come down to how competitive he feels the Red Bull-Honda partnership can be,
What do you think? Could Ricciardo be off to McLaren? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.