Is Ricciardo threatened with an end? The McLaren star does not live up to expectations

Updated on 27/05/2022 at 16:59

  • Daniel Ricciardo sees no land against his McLaren teammate Lando Norris.
  • Ricciardo’s contract with McLaren apparently expires after this season.
  • And now the Australian is also counted by the McLaren boss. Is he threatened with the end?

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Daniel Ricciardo probably knew he was in trouble after pulling back an opponent. He was last asked if there had already been talks with McLaren about 2023. “No, but I’m sure we’ll talk before the summer holidays,” he said. So he does not have a contract until the end of 2023 as assumed? Otherwise, you did not have to speak, did you? “That’s right,” he said when asked about it. “So you just made me answer something I do not have to answer. So maybe I meant the summer of 2023?”

Nice try, but too late: There are doubts that when he switched to McLaren before the 2021 season, he might not have signed a three-year contract as expected, but possibly only a contract for two seasons plus a option on another.

A little more pressure

His “confession” means that he now puts himself under a little more pressure, because from now on wild speculations are wide open. He has still warmed it up with his performances for weeks.

The big question: Is the 32-year-old, who a few years ago was still considered the upcoming world champion in Red Bull Racing, with McLaren before the end? Since switching to the traditional racing team, Ricciardo has not done much, especially not in direct comparison with his teammate Lando Norris.

The verbal cuddling course in the team is now over, as is a period of rest or acclimatization. Ricciardo celebrated the acclaimed victory for McLaren in Monza in 2021, the rest was not enough for a man with his ambitions. He lost to Norris on points 115: 160, and although the Briton did not win, he achieved four podium places.

expectations not met

“Apart from Monza and a few races, our expectations have not been met so far,” McLaren boss Zak Brown at Sky Sports said very clearly. “All we can do is work hard as a team, talk about things, push and hope that what needs to click will click soon.”

Norris is “definitely” in better shape right now, Brown said. The ultimate proof came last in Barcelona when Ricciardo finished as number 12. Norris finished number eight with hay fever and tonsillitis. “We wanted Daniel to be much closer to Lando and we wanted a good internal team match. Daniel just does not feel comfortable in the car yet. We try everything we can,” Brown said.

But the plague continues this season, Barcelona was the preliminary low point for a protracted crisis. 11:39 between Ricciardo and Norris on points, 1: 5 in the qualifiers and 2: 4 in the races. In six races, he did not finish in the points five times. The Australian is only ahead in a salary comparison: Ricciardo is said to earn $ 15 million, Norris five. An imbalance and a backpack for Ricciardo as long as he does not deliver.

Also read: Lando Norris: How the young Formula 1 star struggled with mental health issues

Ricciardo sounds the alarm

Barcelona was a race where you hope something went wrong, Ricciardo said: “You hope to find something and be able to say, ‘Oh, so that was the problem.’ If we do not find it, it’s probably even more worrying, “said Ricciardo, who himself sounded the alarm:” I was not just missing a tenth or two. “Sometimes it felt like I was missing more than a second.”

Former Formula One driver Martin Brundle addressed the issue in his “Sky” column with clear words: “McLaren and Daniel Ricciardo should be very concerned about the lack of speed. Something needs to change.”

Also read: Formula 1: Throwed away the title? Daniel Ricciardo and the unfortunate Red Bull escape

And if nothing changes on the route, then possibly in terms of staff. Because a replacement will be found quickly. The mega-talent Oscar Piastri is under contract with Alpine, but can be rented out. McLaren works with IndyCar drivers Pato O’Ward and Colton Herta. And given the limited opportunities for advancement at AlphaTauri, Pierre Gasly could also quickly become an option. Ricciardo does not have to wait long for an answer. Because whether it’s a two- or three-year contract – given the crisis, the negotiations are likely to take place very soon.

Sources used:

  • Interview Sky Sports: Daniel Ricciardo: McLaren CEO Zak Brown says the driver does not live up to the team’s expectations
  • press conference

The hunt for world champion Max Verstappen began in Bahrain on March 20. Following the cancellation of the Russian Grand Prix, the racing calendar includes 22 world championship races, as in the previous year. Ten teams compete under changed rules. The two German drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mick Schumacher are under particular pressure.

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