The Formula 1 merry-go-round has continued with McLaren announcing that Daniel Ricciardo is joining from Renault in 2021.
Sebastian Vettel sent silly season into full swing after he and Ferrari made a joint statement to say 2020 would be their final year together as they ‘no longer had a common desire to stay together beyond the end of this season’.
Vettel’s confirmed departure opened the floodgates, but McLaren’s Carlos Sainz quickly emerged as the man on pole position to take the four-time World Champion’s seat.
With the Spaniard making the jump to the Scuderia, that created space at the Woking team, who will be working with Mercedes power next year. That space has been officially filled by Daniel Riccardo, who has signed a ‘multi-year agreement’ and will partner Lando Norris.
“Signing Daniel is another step forward in our long-term plan and will bring an exciting new dimension to the team, alongside Lando. This is good news for our team, partners and of course our fans,” said McLaren boss Zak Brown.
“I also want to pay tribute to Carlos for the excellent job he has been doing for McLaren in helping our performance recovery plan. He is a real team player and we wish him well for his future beyond McLaren.”
Andreas Seidl, team principal, added: “Daniel is a proven race-winner and his experience, commitment and energy will be a valuable addition to McLaren and our mission to return to the front of the field.
“With Daniel and Lando as team-mates, I believe we have two racers who will continue to excite our fans and help the team grow.
“Carlos is a true professional, a pleasure to work with and we will continue to enjoy going racing with him this year. We all wish him good luck for the next stage in his career when he leaves McLaren.”
It will bring an end to a frustrating spell for the Aussie at Renault, who moved from Red Bull to the Enstone outfit ahead of the 2019 season only to finish the campaign with zero podiums and a P9 finish in the Drivers’ Championship.
Ricciardo, though, could still have time to end his podium drought whilst still in Renault colours, depending what the 2020 schedule looks like.
All eyes will now turn to Renault as to who they will pick to partner Esteban Ocon for the 2021 campaign. Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso are the two big names being linked.