Daniel Ricciardo has confirmed he will become a McLaren Formula 1 driver for the 2021 season, replacing Carlos Sainz.
With Sainz set to replace Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari, McLaren confirmed today that they have signed the services of Ricciardo from the conclusion of the 2020 season.
It brings an end to a short-lived, yet tumultuous two-seasons with the French marque.
The seven-time Grand Prix winner came close to securing a deal with McLaren back in 2018 before ultimately signing for Renault who finished behind McLaren in the standings last year.
“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,” said McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown.
“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 will partner Lando Norris who is retained for a second season from the Woking outfit.
“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,” said McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl.
“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.”
As for Renault, the team is yet to indicate who will replace Ricciardo and partner Esteban Ocon for 2021.
Recent free agent Vettel has been linked to the seat, as has double world champion Fernando Alonso who has already had two stints with the Enstone squad.
Renault has also been bold in its ambition to have a graduate from its junior academy on the F1 grid by 2021, a possibility strengthened by Ricciardo’s departure.
Team principal Cyril Abiteboul has previously admitted his preference will be to promote a driver from its junior academy, where F2 drivers Guanyu Zhou and Christian Lundgaard are the most likely prospects.
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