Ricciardo open to staying at McLaren until retirement

Ben Johnston
Daniel Ricciardo on the podium after winning the Italian GP. Monza September 2021.

Daniel Ricciardo punches the air on the podium after winning the Italian Grand Prix. Monza September 2021.

Daniel Ricciardo says that he is open to the idea of staying with McLaren until he retires from Formula 1.

The 32-year-old Australian joined the Woking-based outfit from the team formerly known as Renault ahead of the 2021 season, replacing Carlos Sainz who was signed by Ferrari.

Ricciardo had a slow start to his time with McLaren as he was outperformed by team-mate Lando Norris, however, this did not phase him and he was able to find his feet with the team, steadily improving his results as the year went on.

At the Italian Grand Prix in Monza, last September, Ricciardo started the race from third place with his team-mate, Norris in fourth.

The Australian went on to win the race, claiming McLaren’s first victory in Formula 1 since 2012 while Norris was second.

But, as for Ricciardo’s future with the team, he is open to staying with them for the rest of his career, although part of him will always want to be in the best car regardless of which team has it at their disposal.

“It’s always like that,” Ricciardo told Auto Motor und Sport.

“Don’t get me wrong, I think that’s part of the challenge in Formula 1 and as a driver. You don’t just strive to be fast, you strive to be in the best car. But I am not in the hunt here.

“Of course, I’ve been around a bit in the last three or four years. Because I like the environment at McLaren so much and I enjoy it so much, I really want to make this project work. I want to be here.

The atmosphere within McLaren has helped Ricciardo in what he feels was one of the toughest years of his Formula 1 career.

He added: “The surroundings fit as well. I like the brand, I like the road cars. I can say that I really like being part of this company, part of the McLaren family.

“The reason why I’m not remotely thinking about another team or beyond my future is that I actually won in maybe the hardest year of my career.

“So my thought is: if I win in a year like that, what does that say about the journey ahead?

“I am definitely excited and I want to be here, possibly until the end of my career.”

Ricciardo will join Norris and the rest of the McLaren team at their Woking base on February 11, where they will host a 2022 season launch event as they also get ready for the IndyCar and Extreme E seasons, however, the Australian is only focused on Formula 1.

He said: “To be honest, I haven’t thought about it [other projects] yet. But you’re right.

“It could actually open a few doors for me after Formula 1, and be another advantage. Even as an ambassador for the brand or as a test driver for road cars. But at the moment I have my hands full with Formula 1.”

PlanetF1 Verdict

 

Ricciardo to stay at McLaren for rest of career?

Daniel Ricciardo has said he's open to remaining a McLaren driver until the end of his career.