Daniel Ricciardo has opened up about his main motivations behind his move to McLaren in 2021 after two tricky seasons at Renault.
The Australian had made his move to the Enstone outfit in 2019, now known as Alpine, in the hope of building a team around him to challenge for the World Championship.
Ricciardo’s move to McLaren caused ructions among the grid when it was announced following Carlos Sainz’s impending switch to Ferrari, meaning his future had already been decided before the 2020 season had got underway.
While he did achieve two podiums with Renault in 2020, it showed that the return on investment of his move did not live up to his expectations when he had joined the team.
Now in his 11th season in Formula 1, he explained why he has made the move to F1’s second-oldest team.
“When I signed the contract, it was really just the step [McLaren] made in 2019,” he told the official Formula 1 YouTube channel.
“I think they kind of turned heads in the whole paddock and it felt like they’ve gone through those few darker years of trying to sort themselves out to rebuild the team.
“And it felt like in 2019 they really put everything together. It was like okay, they’ve laid everything out all the all the pieces together, it’s now just building and executing for the next few years.”
After finishing P3 in the 2020 Constructors’ Championship, McLaren got the new season off to a solid start in Bahrain, earning 18 points with Lando Norris finishing P4 and Ricciardo bringing his damaged MCL35M home in a creditable P7.
With the Woking team’s performances in recent years showing that their cars are arguably the most upwardly mobile on the grid, Ricciardo hopes to capitalise on their improvements by challenging for podiums, while talking of his hope to mount a title challenge as early as 2022.
“Obviously, I signed at the beginning of 2020, but during 2020 they showed you a further step,” he continued. “I just think they had the most promise out of the rest. I like what I saw and felt like, yeah, everyone feels pretty comfortable at McLaren.
“When I say comfortable, don’t mistake that for complacent. We’re ready to get on with it.”