The F1 world is awaiting Daniel Ricciardo's next move after his long rumoured departure from McLaren was made official, putting an end to weeks of speculation about his immediate future.
Ricciardo's move to McLaren on a three-year deal that would have seen him race for the team until the end of the 2023 season hasn't produced the results the Australian or the team had been expecting.
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Barring a sensational victory at the Italian GP in 2021 with teammate Lando Norris close behind, Ricciardo has largely underperformed 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 Ricciardo's departure at the end of the season was announced, sharing a photo of the pair from their sensational result at Monza last year.
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."
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
Ricciardo himself has no plans to leave the F1 world, saying the inner motivation to compete at the highest level of motorsport still burned within him.
"I think for the future, what lies ahead, I am not sure yet... I am not sure yet. But we'll see," Ricciardo said, breaking the "bittersweet" news to his 7.3 million followers on Instagram in a video address.
"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 gives more details about McLaren F1 split
Ricciardo also revealed more about the discussions with McLaren over his exit.
"We had a lot of discussions but in the end we mutually decided it was the best 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," he said.
"From a result point of view, for sure, consistently to get the results and the form that I was after, it wasn't always there and it was tough.
"I felt those absolutely. But I also have many happy memories of my time at the team.
"I think about Monza, I think about standing on the top step, I think about bringing the team their first win since 2012. That sort of stuff was awesome, to see the smiles on everyone's faces and to be in that moment.
"That's something I'll never forget so there is a lot of good stuff to take from this as well."
McLaren team boss Zak Brown said there was no doubt both team and driver had hoped to achieve more together.
“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.”
Team principal Andreas Seidl echoed Brown's sentiments, adding that he personally felt somewhat accountable for Ricciardo's struggles with the team.
After trailing Norris in 2021, Ricciardo has battled to get to grips with the new cars introduced for the 2022 season onwards, something Seidl said he should take some responsibility for.
“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,” Seidl said.
“That’s why we had a lot of discussions the last month — Zak 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.”
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