Daniel Ricciardo will join McLaren for the 2021 Formula One season, the team confirmed on Thursday, taking the place of Ferrari-bound Carlos Sainz.
Australian driver Ricciardo is in the final year of his Renault deal and had looked to be a frontrunner to replace Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari after this week’s news the German will not sign a contract extension. However, Ferrari moved swiftly to sign Sainz, in a deal also set to be on Thursday.
Ricciardo will partner Lando Norris, who will remain with McLaren beyond 2020.
Vettel’s next move remains uncertain, although retirement after 2020 appears to be the most likely outcome at this stage.
Ricciardo came close to signing for McLaren in 2018 but opted for Renault. At the time he had doubts about McLaren’s readiness to return to the front of the pecking order, but last season he watched the Woking team comfortably beat Renault to fourth position in the championship.
McLaren is on an upwards trajectory and Ricciardo’s move will coincide with a switch to using Mercedes engines.
More to follow…