Daniel Ricciardo will race in McLaren papaya orange in the 2021 Formula 1 season as a replacement to Carlos Sainz Jr.
The new deal will see the seven-time Grand Prix winner leave Renault, where he has raced for the last two seasons following his departure from Red Bull Racing.
McLaren has been keen on working for Ricciardo for some time, making an approach for the Australian when he weighed up his Formula 1 future in 2018.
Ricciardo ultimately decided to sign for Renault, who finished behind McLaren in the constructors’ championship last season.
Lando Norris has also been confirmed as staying at McLaren to partner Ricciardo.
McLaren Racing’s CEO Zak Brown had this to say:
“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.”
“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.”
Team principal Andreas Seidl commented about Ricciardo joining the team:
“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 teammates, 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.”
McLaren had already opened talks with Sainz over a new contract after his impressive display for the team last season, only for Ferrari to swoop in once Vettel’s exit was confirmed.
Since returning to Formula 1 as a works team in 2016, Renault has been open in its target to return to the front of the field upon the new set of technical regulations, which now come into force for 2022.
Ricciardo signed for Renault fully aware of the long-term nature of the project, but the team failed to bridge the gap to the leading three teams as hoped through 2019.
Renault is yet to indicate who will replace Ricciardo at the team, but it now holds one of the highest-profile open seats in Formula 1 for 2021.
Outgoing Ferrari driver Vettel has been linked with the seat, as has two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, who previously raced for Renault in two stints from 2003-06 and in 2008-09.
Renault has also been bold in its ambition to have a graduate from its junior academy on the Formula 1 grid by 2021, a possibility strengthened by Ricciardo’s departure.
Guanyu Zhou and Christian Lundgaard are the two leading members of the Renault Sport Academy, both racing in Formula 2 this year.
So fantastic news to get Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren. It’s going to be fascinating to see Ricciardo driving with a Mercedes-powered car and fighting for points. He gets along very well with teammate Lando Norris, thanks to jokes and banter. Best of luck Daniel!