Jones can’t see Ricciardo continuing ‘much longer’ with McLaren

Daniel Ricciardo pictured at the Spanish GP. Barcelona May 2022.

Daniel Ricciardo with sunglasses on and pursed lips at the Spanish Grand Prix. Barcelona May 2022.

1980 F1 World Champion Alan Jones reckons Daniel Ricciardo’s time at McLaren is drawing to a close, unless he improves rapidly.

Jones has become the latest voice to add to the speculation surrounding Ricciardo’s future, with the Australian World Champion saying “contracts don’t mean much” when it comes to teams wanting to drop underperforming drivers.

Ricciardo has scored just 11 of McLaren’s 59 points so far in 2022, with the Australian driver’s performances coming into sharp focus when he failed to finish in the points in Spain – the same day that Lando Norris finished eighth while struggling with feverish tonsillitis.

McLaren CEO Zak Brown has recently spoken out about Ricciardo’s struggles, saying he hasn’t met with the team’s expectations, while also revealing that mechanisms are in place to allow him to be removed if the team choose to.

Ricciardo confirmed over the Monaco weekend that he is on a three-year deal with McLaren, taking him to the end of 2023, but Jones believes that this deal means nothing if McLaren decide on a change.

“[His future at McLaren] is questionable at the moment,” Jones told Australia’s Herald Sun.

“Unless he makes a few improvements – quick smart – I really can’t see him being there for too much longer, to be honest.”

Jones’ thoughts echo those of fellow World Champion Jacques Villeneuve, with the 1997 World Champion far more succinct in his assessment that Ricciardo’s time at McLaren “is over”.

Ricciardo is a hugely popular driver, thanks to his witty good humour and beaming smile – a toothy grin that has appeared more rarely during 2022. Jones believes that his ‘nice guy’ reputation may actually be holding him back.

“He is a great little race driver and he is a hell of a nice guy,” he said. “But, of course, we all know nice guys don’t get anywhere, particularly in Formula 1.

“The bigger d*ck you are, the better off you are – there are a few out there at the moment that have proved that.”


If McLaren choose to drop Ricciardo, there would presumably be financial repercussions for the team in order to pay off the 32-year-old. But, this would come down to whether the team have the budget to pay him, as well as his replacement, as driver contracts do not yet fall under F1’s recently introduced financial regulations which cap performance-related spending at $140 million dollars for the season.

“A contract in F1 doesn’t mean much,” Jones said of his compatriot’s ongoing travails.

“But, if the situation remains the same as it is, I have no doubt in my mind they will exercise one of those options that are in the contract.”

Beginning of the end for Ricciardo at McLaren?

Daniel Ricciardo's McLaren career has never really been able to take off, and it may be coming to an end sooner than expected.