Enter your email to read this article
Read news on any topic, in one place, from publishers like The Economist, FT, Bloomberg and more.

Daniel Ricciardo was "expected to kick a**" as F1 star opens up on McLaren nightmare

McLaren were puzzled by Daniel Ricciardo's slow start to life with the team as the driver claims the team expected him to "kick a**" from day one.

The Australian is 18 months into his career with the Woking team but is still yet to find any real momentum. Even ignoring the current circus surrounding his future, with Oscar Piastri waiting in the wings, things look bleak for Ricciardo.

Now on summer break, the 33-year-old has reflected on the same period 12 months ago which was much more needed after a shock to the system. Instead of quickly adapting to his new car as hoped, he was consistently out-performed by Lando Norris and unable to show the form of a multi-race winner.

"This time last year there was probably a little more head-scratching from everyone," he told Racer. "I think that’s because... the truth is, I think they just expected me to get into the team and kick a**. So there was probably still some pure head-scratching, like, 'hmm, what’s happening?'

"And that was probably overriding what needs to happen – I'm just speculating, but maybe too much energy was put into the why's and this and that before it was, 'what do we need to do now to make him feel better?'"

Ricciardo was speaking before the Piastri saga took off. There was plenty of speculation about his future given his continued struggle to find form, but he responded with a defiant message on social media in which he pledged to see out his current contract, which ends after the 2023 season.

McLaren want to replace Ricciardo with fellow Aussie racer Piastri (Getty Images)

It feels more and more unlikely that will happen, though, with McLaren keen on younger Aussie racer Piastri. Alpine wanted to promote their reserve to replace Fernando Alonso, but he denied having agreed to do so and wants instead to join the Woking team, after negotiations carried out by his manager Mark Webber.

Ricciardo has been told by his team that they want to replace him a year early, prompting the former Red Bull star to respond by asking for an eight-figure pay-off to walk away. But things might not be so simple for McLaren, who may face a legal fight with Alpine over custody of Piastri – both teams feel they have a valid contract with the F2 champion.

If Ricciardo is replaced, he will likely not be short of options for other seats in F1. At least four teams have contacted the eight-time race winner in recent weeks, while Alpine themselves said they would be happy to welcome him back with open arms if they are unable to keep Piastri within their grasp.

Related Stories
Daniel Ricciardo demands massive pay-off to end McLaren career amid Oscar Piastri fiasco
McLaren have told Daniel Ricciardo they intend to replace him with wantaway Alpine reserve Oscar Piastri, but the former Red Bull racer will not leave early without a significant pay-off
From analysis to the latest developments in health, read the most diverse news in one place.
Why Piastri's attempt to join McLaren carries implications of risk
After the 2006 Formula 1 British GP, Lewis Hamilton's father Anthony was a frustrated man, despite his son - at the time a star in GP2 - having just scored a memorable double win in that weekend's feature and sprint events.
Why Piastri's F1 attempt to join McLaren has risky implications
After the 2006 Formula 1 British GP, Lewis Hamilton's father Anthony was a frustrated man, despite his son - at the time a star in GP2 - had just scored a memorable double win in that weekend's feature and sprint events.
The reasons behind Ricciardo’s McLaren Formula 1 struggles
Daniel Ricciardo’s pending Formula 1 exit from McLaren is set to end two difficult years for the eight-time grand prix winner.
Oscar Piastri standoff turns ugly as Alpine chief slams star for lack of loyalty
Otmar Szafnauer spoke honestly about Alpine's current battle with reserve driver Piastri, and claimed there is a long line of drivers ready to replace him if he chooses to leave
One place to find news on any topic, from hundreds of sites.
Esteban Ocon backed to lead Alpine in 2023 amid ongoing Oscar Piastri uncertainty
Alpine will lose F1's most experienced racer in Fernando Alonso at the end of the year, and his replacement is currently unknown after Oscar Piastri turned down his promotion