Previous F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve has admitted that he believes Daniel Ricciardo’s time at McLaren “is over” after his performance has dwindles compared to teammate Lando Norris. The team’s chief Zak Brown has made similar comments, only adding to the rumour that he won’t be with the team for much longer.
Ricciardo made the move to McLaren last year after stints at Red Bull and Renault, but has since been outperformed by Norris who has shown consistent results.
After years of waiting, the Australian finally got a win at the 2021 Australian Grand Prix – a slight glimpse into the world of what could be for him – but since then, Ricciardo has struggled to get anything out of his MCL36 with Norris outshining him by 37 points so far this season. Plus, after an expensive hit during FP2 of the Monaco Grand Prix, Ricciardo isn’t looking great in the eyes of the accountants, either.
Jacques Villeneuve on Daniel Ricciardo:
"It would be cheaper for [McLaren] to continue paying Ricciardo's salary, let him sit on the couch at home, and put another driver in the car.
— F1 Briefings (@F1Briefings) June 2, 2022
Since then, Brown has admitted that Ricciardo isn’t fulfilling McLaren’t expectations, adding the potential of early contract termination. His contract runs out at the end of 2023, but could we see his contract come to an end earlier than that? Villeneuve believes so:
“Daniel Ricciardo’s time at McLaren is over,” Villeneuve wrote in his column for Dutch outlet Formule1.nl.
“CEO Zak Brown is now saying that there are clauses in his contract, and that means that a decision has almost been made. It’s a way to put the pressure on the driver and prepare the media.”
He adds that these poor finishes are costing the team money, something that Brown won’t be ignoring:
“Ultimately, he has been a highly-paid driver who has cost the team a lot of money,” he continued.
“He doesn’t bring in any points and he doesn’t have the speed the team needs to develop the car. So he’s just costing them money.
“It would be cheaper for them to continue paying Ricciardo’s salary, let him sit on the couch at home, and put another driver in the car. It’s a harsh reality, but that’s Formula 1.”