McLaren clarify Daniel Ricciardo contract situation after Red Bull trigger sudden F1 return

Jamie Woodhouse
Daniel Ricciardo and Zak Brown shake hands. Austin October 2021.

Daniel Ricciardo and Zak Brown shake hands at the United States Grand Prix. Austin October 2021.

McLaren boss Zak Brown confirmed that the team are not, as Sky F1’s Martin Brundle put it, “still paying” Daniel Ricciardo “to be in a rival car” at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Ricciardo’s nightmare stint with the McLaren team was cut short at the end of the 2022 campaign, that one year before the Aussie’s contract was set to expire.

While Ricciardo did give McLaren their most recent F1 victory at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, overall it was un underwhelming spell in McLaren colours where he was regularly outperformed by team-mate Lando Norris.

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Ricciardo is back on the grid though for the 2023 Hungarian Grand Prix, Red Bull having decided to axe Nyck de Vries from the line-up at their sister team AlphaTauri and send Ricciardo there on loan for the remainder of the season.

Until this point Ricciardo had been serving as a reserve and simulator driver for Red Bull following his McLaren sacking.

And speaking to Sky F1, Brown was asked whether McLaren are still financially tied to Ricciardo as he returns to the grid with a rival team, since his contract was torn up a year before its expiry?

“All of our financial arrangements have come to an end,” Brown confirmed.

“So he’s a free man and we wish him well and we’re happy to see him on the grid.” recommends

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While the McLaren-Ricciardo union certainly did not go as planned, and clearly took a major toll on Riccardo’s confidence and love for Formula 1, the pair did go their separate ways on good terms.

And Brown re-emphasises that by saying that “everyone at McLaren” is a part of the Ricciardo fan club and hopes he can secure himself a permanent home on the grid once more beyond F1 2023.

Asked if he thinks Ricciardo will perform well at AlphaTauri, Brown replied: “I sure hope he does.

“I don’t think there’s anyone who’s not a Daniel Ricciardo fan, starting with everyone at McLaren.

“We really enjoyed working with him. It was unfortunate it didn’t work out. It’s great we won a race together, so we’ve got great, great memories and I don’t think there’s anyone that doesn’t want to see Daniel back in a full-time [seat], not just in ’23 but ’24 and beyond.

“Clearly he’s got the talent and hopefully he’ll be able to show it again.”

Ricciardo has the task of going up against Yuki Tsunoda as a team-mate this time around, the Honda-backed racer so far impressing in his third season with AlphaTauri.

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