Ricciardo to join McLaren in F1 shake up

Australian Renault Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo will race for McLaren in the 2021 season

McLaren have announced the signing of Daniel Ricciardo from the 2021 season as a replacement for Carlos Sainz, who will take Sebastian Vettel's place on the grid at Ferrari.

Ricciardo will leave Renault at the end of this campaign, yet to start because of coronavirus, and will race alongside Lando Norris after being signed to a "multi-year agreement" with McLaren.

The Australian surprisingly left Red Bull, a team with whom he had won seven races in five seasons between 2004 and 2018, to sign a two-year contract with Renault.

However, Ricciardo's first season was fraught with difficulty and he failed to make a podium.

It seems he has now decided McLaren, who will switch to Mercedes engines in 2021, are the better bet for his long-term prospects.

"Signing Daniel is another step forward in our long-term plan and will bring an exciting new dimension to the team, alongside Lando," McLaren boss Zak Brown said.

"I'm hugely optimistic about what Daniel can do for McLaren. He is a thoroughbred race-winner, a committed tough competitor and a great character."

Ricciardo took to Twitter to express his gratitude to Renault before insisting his focus is on the current season, which could start in July in Austria behind closed doors.

"I am so grateful for my time with @RenaultF1Team and the way I was accepted into the team. But we aren't done and I can't wait to get back on the grid this year. My next chapter isn't here yet, so let's finish this one strong. Merci."

Ricciardo's move paved the way for Sainz to put pen to paper on a two-year contract with Ferrari, who described the Spaniard as "an ideal fit with our family".

Sainz will race alongside Charles Leclerc at the Scuderia after it was confirmed earlier this week that Vettel would leave the team, with the four-time world champion saying there was "no longer a common desire to stay together".

Sainz, who finished sixth in the drivers' championship last year and claimed his first podium when he came third in the penultimate race in Brazil, is widely expected to be the support driver for Leclerc.

"With five seasons already behind him, Carlos has proved to be very talented and has shown that he has the technical ability and the right attributes to make him an ideal fit with our family," said Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto.

"We believe that a driver pairing with the talent and personality of Charles and Carlos, the youngest in the past fifty years of the Scuderia, will be the best possible combination to help us reach the goals we have set ourselves."