It’s official – Daniel Ricciardo will not be racing for McLaren in 2023.
The Aussie announced his departure in the early hours of Thursday morning and the news quickly swept across the Formula One landscape.
While few were shocked, many remained upset about the disappointing end to what had promised to be a fruitful partnership that would take both team and driver into championship contention.
In the end it netted a grand prix win at Monza in 2021 but no other podium appearances.
This is how the F1 world reacted to the news.
Norris bids farewell as McLaren’s top dog
One of the early plot lines after Ricciardo’s move to McLaren ahead of the 2021 season was the increased pressure Lando Norris would feel with a highly-talented teammate.
The Brit brashly responded to repeated questioning about the Aussie by suggesting he was no stiffer challenge than outgoing teammate Carlos Sainz.
“I don’t think the arrival of Daniel will make it any harder for me,” said Norris, as the team launched its 2021 car.
“I worked with Carlos (Sainz) who is an extremely good driver and there are things Carlos is going to be better at than Daniel and vice-versa.
“I don’t believe Daniel is a big step above anything that Carlos has achieved, and there is more pressure on him because he has been in Formula One for longer and he has to come in and perform very well.”
“It is harder for someone to go up against a much younger driver than it is for a younger driver going up against someone with more experience,” Norris added.
After 35 races together the younger man has been proven correct. He was quick to acknowledge Ricciardo overnight Wednesday, saying it had been a joy to work together.
McLaren boss admits ‘we hoped we could achieve more’
McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown admitted the union had been an unsuccessful one.
“Daniel has been a great addition to McLaren, and it’s been a pleasure working with him,” Brown said. “I’d like to thank him for all of his efforts over the last two seasons both trackside and back at base.
“It’s no secret that we hoped we could achieve more together but seeing him stand on the top step of the podium as a McLaren driver was a highlight. We wish him well for the future and let’s go enjoy the rest of the season together.”
“It’s not a secret that if you look back at the last 18 months of our journey together, it’s clear that we haven’t achieved — despite highlights like the great win in Monza — the results that we wanted to achieve together,” added team principal Andreas Seidl said.
“That’s why we had a lot of discussions the last month — Zak (Brown) and myself, together with Daniel — but in the end we have to acknowledge we didn’t make it work it work together, despite all the commitment from Daniel’s side and the team’s side, despite all the effort we all have put in.”
Seidl admitted he needed to share the blame for the failed Ricciardo experiment.
“We tried everything we could from both sides; unfortunately, we couldn’t make it work. Which is obviously also my responsibility, being in charge of the team,” he said.
“In the end it’s a team effort between the team and the driver and that’s how I also see it. It’s a shared responsibility for also not getting it to work.”
Fans believe Ricciardo wanted to stay
The Aussie’s unrivalled popularity prompted an outpouring of emotion from F1 fans, many who still believe McLaren has handled the situation poorly.
Ricciardo was left to face constant speculation about his future as support from the team dwindled during 2022 and then put in an awkward position when it was reported he was being replaced by Oscar Piastri.
It culminated in a midnight message posted to his social media accounts announcing his time at McLaren was over.
“Hey everyone, wanted to share some news. It’s not great,” Ricciardo began. “Bittersweet for sure but I think it’s best you hear it from me. 2022 will be my last year with McLaren.
“Obviously we put in a lot of effort on both sides but it just hasn’t worked the way we wanted so the team has decided to make a change for next year.”
Many felt his wording indicated it was far from a happy separation.
“Ricciardo‘s wording is interesting as well throughout the video,” wrote one fan. “He makes it clear this was on McLaren’s end, which isn’t the story they’re going with in their press release.”
Anticipation is now high McLaren will make an announcement about Piastri in the coming weeks – although that may be held up by the younger Aussie’s current team Alpine.
Attention will also turn to Ricciardo’s future, which could see the likes of Alpine, Alfa Romeo, Haas and Williams entertain the idea of his arrival.
“For the future, what lies ahead, (I’m) not sure yet. But we’ll see,” Ricciardo said.
“The sport – I still love it. This hasn’t affected any of that. I still have that fire in me, that belief in my belly that I can do this at the highest level. All that stuff is still there … this isn’t it for me.”