The Australian driver will be replace Carlos Sainz, who has confirmed a move to Ferrari
As soon as Ferrari announced that Sebastian Vettel will not be racing for the team next year, it suddenly sparked a huge debate on who will replace him. There were plenty of unsubstantiated rumours floating about, including the unlikely return of Alonso. However, Daniel Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz were the prime candidates.
Daniel’s stint at Renault has not gone how he had planned, there were errors at almost every race and lady luck wasn’t on their side either. Sainz on the other hand had a brilliant couple of seasons with McLaren, he showed experience beyond his age and a proper mastery of racecraft. We can now confirm that Daniel will indeed be leaving Renault, but instead of heading to Ferrari, he will be replacing Sainz at McLaren. This also means Carlos Sainz will be Vettel’s replacement at Ferrari.
Daniel Ricciardo’s move to McLaren is not too surprising. When he quit Red Bull Racing to join Renault, he did so under the impression that Renault would be able to deliver a solid car with championship winning capabilities. However, the team could not deliver on that promise. Meanwhile, McLaren — a customer team that was running Renault power units managed to finish a very respectable fourth place in 2019. This was a huge improvement over a couple of years ago when they finished 9th. McLaren is also moving to a Mercedes power unit from 2021, which should bring them even closer to the top three teams — Mercedes-AMG, Scuderia Ferrari and Red Bull Racing.
“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.” said McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl.
It will be interesting to see how the 2021 season pans out. It was set to be a year of drastic changes with the new rules, but those have been pushed to 2022 following the situation teams find themselves in now. However, with so many driver changes, the championship is surely set to excite. Daniel certainly has the experience to make it to the podium, and if McLaren can keep up the upward trajectory it finds itself on, they might just be in for some proper silverware, while giving Daniel a proper shot at the driver's championship.