After some uncomfortable speculation, the Honey Badger’s 2022 campaign with McLaren will be his last. His contract will be terminated early following the season.
The 2022 Formula 1 World Championship is officially the Honey Badger’s last ride with McLaren Racing. The team confirmed on Wednesday that Daniel Ricciardo’s contract will be terminated after the current season, following weeks of speculation.
The team has not announced a successor to pair alongside teammate Lando Norris in 2023 as of this writing.
As Ricciardo himself said on the occasion:
“It’s been a privilege to be a part of the McLaren Racing family for the last two seasons but following several months of discussions with [team executives] Zak [Brown] and Andreas [Seidl], we have decided to terminate my contract with the team early and agree to mutually part ways at the end of this season. I’ll be announcing my own future plans in due course, but regardless of what this next chapter brings, I have no regrets and am proud of the effort and work I gave McLaren, especially the win in Monza, last season.
A popular, affable driver around the circuit, the 33-year-old Ricciardo is the owner of eight F1 wins and 33 podium finishes since debuting in 2011. His most recent victory came in the 2021 Italian Grand Prix.
“I’ve enjoyed working with everyone at McLaren both trackside and back in Woking and will be giving my all on and off track as we enjoy the remainder of the season together,” Ricciardo continued. “I’ve never been more motivated to compete and be a part of a sport that I love so much and look forward to what comes next.”
The news comes on the heels of great speculation regarding some F1 musical chairs ensnaring not just McLaren, but Aston Martin and Alpine as well. After Sebastian Vettel announced his intentions to retire at the end of the year, fellow former world champ Fernando Alonso of Alpine was confirmed to take his place at Aston Martin. In turn, Alpine announced reserve driver Oscar Piastri as Alonso’s own successor — only for the young Aussie to dispute strongly and publicly that no such deal had been reached and insist he’s straight-up leaving the team.
Amid rumblings that the Danny Ric-McLaren divorce was coming, Piastri quickly emerged as an intriguing candidate for next-man-up. There’s no resolution as of yet regarding his contractual status with Alpine, however, so F1 fans will have to pump the proverbial brakes there.
As McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said Wednesday:
“Daniel has been a great addition to McLaren, and it’s been a pleasure working with him. I’d like to thank him for all of his efforts over the last two seasons both trackside and back at base. It’s no secret that we hoped we could achieve more together but seeing him stand on the top step of the podium as a McLaren driver was a highlight. We wish him well for the future and let’s go enjoy the rest of the season together.”
Added team principal Andreas Seidl:
“I would like to thank Daniel for his dedication and contribution over the last two seasons so far. Despite the shared challenges, he has always turned up with a fighting spirit and positivity and helped the entire team to always keep pushing forward. We will never forget that memorable race win in Monza which was a great boost for the whole team. We still have an important battle in the Constructors’ Championship ahead of us for the remainder of the season and we look forward to battle this out with Daniel and Lando.”
Emerging from the summer break, Ricciardo sits 12th in the F1 Drivers’ Championship standings on 19 points. His best finish so far in 2022 was P6 at April’s Australian GP in Melbourne.