F1: Daniel Riccardo speaks for first time on McLaren split

On the eve of the Belgian Grand Prix, Daniel Ricciardo and McLaren announced they would complete the final nine races together before going their separate ways at the end of the 2022 season.

The Australian driver has shared his thoughts on the split from McLaren.

News broke yesterday that you’re going to be leaving McLaren at the end of this season. How did it happen, and how do you feel about it?

Daniel RICCIARDO: Yeah, obviously, it’s not, the result we wanted, in terms of when I joined the team. The outcome, this wasn’t desired. As a collective though, we just didn’t really get it right. We put in a lot of effort, and tried to understand, things with the car, and obviously myself gelling with it, and getting the maximum out of it, but there was just too many weekends, where it was obviously just a bit of a struggle. So that was pretty much how that kind of decision came about.



Q:, and how do you feel about it?

Ricciardo: Well, it’s obviously not the nicest feeling, but I can hold my head high in terms of applying myself, and trying to make it work, like trying to put everything in. Sometimes you just have to accept that, okay, I try it, and it didn’t necessarily work out. But, from that point of view, I don’t look back in terms of ‘man, I was slacking off, and that’s why, like, I earned this’,  or whatever. It’s just one of those things. I’m proud of the way we tried to make it happen, and persist through it, but some things maybe you just say that they’re not meant to be.

Q: So what happens next for you? How much do you want to stay in Formula 1?

Ricciardo: I still love the sport, and I think through all of this – I guess call it adversity – I haven’t lost that confidence in myself. For sure, we’ve had some tough weekends, and you can’t help, but show emotion sometimes, but I still love it, and I still want to do it competitively. I want to do it in the right place. I never said I want to just be a driver to make up the numbers. You know, if I’m here I want to be here for a purpose. So, I don’t know what that means yet for the future., but of course, if it’s the right opportunity, then this is where I want to be.

#3 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes during the Belgian GP, 25-28 August 2022 at Spa-Francorchamps track, Formula 1 World championship 2022.

Q: If the right opportunity doesn’t present itself for next year, would you consider a sabbatical away from all types of racing?

Ricciardo: If it made sense? Yes. If it makes sense. It’s the only racing I’m interested in at this stage of my career. F1, it’s what I love, and it’s where I see myself if I’m doing any racing., but as I said, if, let’s say, the stars don’t align, and it doesn’t make perfect sense next year, and if it means taking that time off to kind of reset or re-evaluate, then if that’s the right thing to do, then I’m willing to.

Q:, and how do you view the next nine races?

Ricciardo: Honestly, it’s one of those where, after all this, there’s kind of a bit of a weight off the shoulders, and it’s just to go out there, and just race, go have fun. I always feel like I’ve got a point to prove., but there’s also, you know, although the team has made this decision, there is still… the team is behind me to make me get the most out of the last nine races, and to finish on a high. So there’s a lot of people that support me, and want me to do well., and I’m not one to just drive around, and enjoy it. Like I want to drive around as competitively, as fast as possible. So there’s no slacking off. There’s none of that. It’s just go out, have fun, and try, and get another Monza moment.

Q: Obviously, the process you’ve just gone through with McLaren with bringing the contract to an early end won’t have been an enjoyable one., but how satisfied are you with the way the McLaren have conducted themselves, particularly at management level, both publicly, and privately, in dealing with this, and do you feel you had kind of had enough warning that this was a possibility? I imagine it wasn’t dropped on you at the last minute that this could happen.

Ricciardo: Yeah, it wasn’t dropped. It wasn’t just a random call one day that ‘hey, this is what we’re doing’. We’d been in dialogue for really the last few months., and it wasn’t always, it wasn’t like ‘don’t top five this race, and you’re done’., but it was more, you know, what can we do? How can we, as a collective, try to keep making this work? And, obviously, I’d try to give feedback on obviously the things I would struggle with on the car, and there was a lot of, I guess, dialogue, but also that was, you know, I understood that was also a point of concern because the results I was getting were not up to, I guess, the level that we all thought they could have been. So we did talk, yeah, I certainly want to say months about it, and ways to try, and rectify the issues, but then also, potentially, like, ‘Okay, what next? What now?’, and we kind of just came to, unfortunately, a bit of a dead end, where we felt like we’d exhausted most things that were at least in reach at the time., and that’s when, obviously, they made the decision.


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