Contract signed: Daniel Ricciardo changes from Renault to McLaren!

( – Despite the race-free Corona crisis period, Formula 1 is going very quickly. After ‘’ exclusively announced Sebastian Vettel’s departure from Ferrari on Monday evening and the switch from Carlos Sainz to Scuderia on Wednesday morning, the next prominent driver transfer is now certain: Daniel Ricciardo will switch from his current employer Renault to McLaren in 2021.

2021 teammates at McLaren-Mercedes: Lando Norris, Daniel Ricciardo



On Wednesday, several German-language internet portals agreed that Sebastian Vettel would take over the McLaren cockpit from Sainz. Not least because of his connection to team boss Andreas Seidl, whom he knows and appreciates from Formula 1 times in BMW. But the Vettel-McLaren stories have now turned out to be wrong.

Already late Monday evening, there was evidence that Ricciardo could become Lando Norris’ new teammate at McLaren. The Italian journalist Leo Turrini then reported on Wednesday in a radio interview. Later the ‘BBC’ jumped on the train. The reported, however, that there is still “no final agreement”. At the time, this was no longer correct.

According to information from ‘’, Ricciardo Renault officially informed Wednesday morning that he will not renew his contract, which expires at the end of 2020. The signature under the McLaren contract is already dry. An official confirmation of the transfer is expected in the course of Thursday.

Ricciardo, McLaren and Mercedes: a winning combination?

For now, McLaren, confronted with the research from ‘’, is covered. One does not generally comment on contractual matters, it is said on request. The British team does not comment on the immediate departure from Sainz towards Ferrari, according to the story of Wednesday.

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Ricciardo’s move to McLaren was already certain before it was clear that Sainz would go to Ferrari. Sainz ‘McLaren contract basically ends at the end of 2020; however, the team could have kept it in 2021 with the option. This is spearheaded by inaccurate reports in the Spanish media that McLaren is said to have offered a raise until recently to keep Sainz.

Photo gallery: The Sonnyboy from Perth: Daniel Ricciardo’s career in pictures

Only when McLaren had clarified that the candidate Ricciardo would really sign the contract did the British racing team approve the switch to Sainz Ferrari. That in the meantime it was reported by some that Vettel was McLaren’s first choice came as a media diversion to the decision-makers in Woking.

For Ricciardo, McLaren is an obvious choice after the sporting disappointing 2019 season (World Cup ninth, fourth place in Monza as best individual result) and unpromising winter tests 2020 with the new R.S. 20. Not only because the once successful team of greats like Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna or Mika Häkkinen will drive with Mercedes engines again in 2021.

McLaren has been on the up since team boss Seidl and technology director James Key took over at Woking in early 2019 and superstar Fernando Alonso and engine partner Honda were looking to go the distance. 2017 still with 30 points ninth in the constructors’ championship, 2018 (62 points) already sixth, in 2019 a strong turnaround was achieved with 145 points.

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Ricciardo and McLaren: Negotiated in 2018

In addition, Renault did everything it could in 2018, invested in a completely refurbished factory in Enstone and converted the equivalent of 50 million euros in Ricciardo for two years; but the Formula 1 program is under scrutiny due to a savings program in the group. And not just since the beginning of the corona crisis.

Ricciardo is the preferred candidate for team boss Seidl and McLaren CEO Zak Brown, who had already conducted contract negotiations with the Australian in 2018. Ricciardo actually wanted to switch to Ferrari two years ago, but was slowed down by Charles Leclerc. His hope for a chance at Mercedes was also not fulfilled.

What was less present in the media was that he was in contact with Brown and McLaren even then, but ultimately switched to Renault. McLaren was still a Renault customer team at the time. The shape curve of the past two years apparently led Ricciardo to realize that he was betting on the wrong horse in summer 2018.

The 30-year-old made his debut in 2011 in Colin Kolles’ HRT team as Red Bull Junior in Formula 1 and was built for Toro Rosso in 2012 and 2013 for Red Bull’s A team. There he immediately defeated the four-time world champion Vettel with 3: 0 wins and 238: 167 points in 2014. He only narrowly lost against Max Verstappen from 2016 to 2018 (4: 5 wins and 578: 608 points).

For Vettel, the Ricciardo-McLaren News means that the options for a continuation of the Formula 1 career are becoming more and more manageable. In the ‘Starting Grid’ podcast on Tuesday evening, the future of the outgoing Ferrari driver and a possible resignation after the end of the 2020 season were central issues. More on this in the audio player on ‘’.

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