McLaren CEO Zak Brown has confirmed that Daniel Ricciardo turned down an offer from the England-based team to race in IndyCar, following news he's set to leave the F1 team at the end of the season.
The Formula One world is waiting to find out what Ricciardo's next move is after his long rumoured departure from McLaren was made official on Wednesday, following weeks of speculation.
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Ricciardo was contracted to the Woking-based F1 team until the end of the 2023 season, but after being outperformed by his younger teammate, Lando Norris this year, McLaren decided it was time to go in another direction.
McLaren announced on Wednesday that they had 'mutually agreed' to part ways with the 33-year-old Aussie driver, one year before his contract was due to expire.
The Aussie is set to be given a staggering payout by McLaren worth a reported $24 million.
Despite saying it was mutual, McLaren and Ricciardo both made it clear that it was the team's decision.
In explaining the move, McLaren boss Brown admitted that they would have liked to keep hold of Ricciardo - albeit as part of the constructor’s IndyCar team.
“Yes, we spoke about that,” Brown confirmed to MotorSport.
“As Andreas (Seidl) said, he’s an exceptional racing driver and any team that he drives for is so privileged to have Daniel drive for them, and we do have a variety of racing activities.
“But, that being said, he’s very focused on Formula 1.”
Ricciardo has made it clear that he still sees his immediate future in F1, and is adamant that he still has plenty to offer.
“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,” he said.
The Aussie driver admits he does not yet know what lies in store as far as his F1 future goes, after lamenting the fact that things didn't work as out as planned.
“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,” Ricciardo said in an emotional Instagram post.
“We had a lot of discussions but in the end we mutually agreed it was the right thing for both of us.
“I will continue to do the rest of this year, absolutely. And I’ll continue to give it my all.
“For the future, what lies ahead, (hI’m) not sure yet. But we’ll see.”
In breaking the "bittersweet" news to his 7.3 million followers via an Instagram video message, Ricciardo concedes that he still has a burning desire to achieve more success in F1.
"The sport, I still love it... I still love it. This hasn't affected any of that. I still have that fire in me and that belief in my belly that I can do this at the highest level.
"I look back at this time with McLaren with a smile. I learnt a lot about myself and I think things that will help me with the next step in my career but also just in general, in life."
Daniel Ricciardo has played second fiddle at McLaren in 2022
Barring a sensational victory at the Italian GP in 2021 with teammate Norris close behind, Ricciardo has largely been outperformed by his younger teammate after switching from Renault, now Alpine.
Fans have been speculating which team Ricciardo could join for next season, with a vacant seat at Alpine a potentially smooth fit, while the likes of Haas, Williams and Alfa Romeo all could be a suitable home for the eight-time race winner.
Norris took to Twitter after the news about Ricciardo's impending exit broke, sharing a photo of the pair from their sensational result at Monza last year.
What a ride @danielricciardo. From that moment in Monza, to the laughs we've had out of the car, it's been a joy working with you these last two years. Whatever’s next I wish you all the best, let's have a mega next few months pic.twitter.com/V0F5oQylpb
— Lando Norris (@LandoNorris) August 24, 2022
The British star encouraged his teammate to close out his ill-fated McLaren tenure on a high note in the final races of the season.
"What a ride @danielricciardo. From that moment in Monza, to the laughs we've had out of the car, it's been a joy working with you these last two years," Norris wrote.
"Whatever’s next I wish you all the best, let's have a mega next few months."
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