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McLaren have confirmed that Daniel Ricciardo will leave the team at the end of the current Formula One season, ending several weeks of speculation. The driver announced the news in a video, as you can see below.
Ricciardo was due to race for the British team next year, which would have been the third and final year of his deal, but his poor form had led to talk that they would look to remove him early, with Oscar Piastri rumoured as the potential replacement.
On Wednesday afternoon, with the summer break set to come to an end this weekend at the Belgian grand prix, the team confirmed the mutual termination of his deal a year early.
"It’s been a privilege to be a part of the McLaren Racing family for the last two seasons but following several months of discussions with Zak & Andreas we have decided to terminate my contract with the team early and agree to mutually part ways at the end of this season," the Australian said in a statement on the team website.
McLaren Racing and Daniel Ricciardo have mutually agreed that Daniel will leave the team at the end of the 2022 season.— McLaren (@McLarenF1) August 24, 2022
The team thanks Daniel for his dedication and contribution, including that memorable win in Monza. We look forward to finishing the season strongly together.
Ricciardo joined the team last year, having driven for Renault for the previous two seasons, and formed an extremely well liked partnership with Lando Norris.
The 33-year-old earned his first win in over three years, and McLaren's first race win in nine years, when he came home first at Monza last year.
He only failed to finish in the points on nine occasions throughout the year as the team finished 'best of the rest,' behind the big three of Mereces, Red Bull and Ferrari, in fourth in the constructors' championship.
However, this season his form has completely gone away from him, and he's only scored points in three races out of 13 so far, leaving him five places behind teammate Norris in the drivers' standings.
"I’ll be announcing my own future plans in due course but regardless of what this next chapter brings, I have no regrets and am proud of the effort and work I gave McLaren, especially the win in Monza, last season," the former Red Bull driver added.
"I’ve enjoyed working with everyone at McLaren both trackside and back in Woking and will be giving my all on and off track as we enjoy the remainder of the season together.
"I’ve never been more motivated to compete and be a part of a sport that I love so much and look forward to what comes next.”
McLaren will now be expected to announce Ricciardo's fellow countryman Oscar Piastri as the replacement to take his seat for next season.
The 2021 Formula 2 championship winner was announced by Alpine as their driver next season, following Fernando Alonso's announcement that he'll be leaving the French team.
Piastri has been working for Alpine as a reserve driver but he came out and denied that he would be driving for them next year, saying he had not signed a contract.
That led to speculation that he would instead be going to McLaren to replace Ricciardo, but of course the team had yet to make any announcement about their current driver's future.
Now that has been sorted there's no doubt that Piastri will be favourite to take the drive.