Daniel Riccardio Leaves McLaren


Daniel Riccardio

Lila Sole, Reporter

Daniel Riccardio is a 32-year-old Formula One driver from Perth, Australia. He started his driving career in 2009 when he won the Formula 3 championship. The next year, he competed in Formula Renault 3.5 and ended up finishing just two points behind the champion where, according to racefans.net, Riccardio “finished behind following a setback late in the season when his car was flipped over in Silverstone.” He continued through Red Bulls academy until he eventually joined the first Red Bull team and made his real debut in Formula 1. He stayed at Red Bull until 2020 winning seven Grand Prixs and 28 Podiums across those six years. In 2020 he made the move to McLaren and has been driving with them for two years, randomly winning the Monza GP in 2021. Recently though, the driver has had to break ties with McLaren because they want to bring in young driver Oscar Piastri. Before we continue, let me give you a quick run down.

Recently just about a month ago, four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel announced that he would be retiring from the sport. This would cause a whiplash effect on the whole sport of Formula 1. Because of his retirement, this would leave an open seat at Seb’s now club, Aston Martin. This would mean a new driver would come into the mix, but not how anyone expected. Alpine driver Fernando Alonso then announced his departure from his club and proceeded to say that he would take the Aston Martin seat in the 2023 season. This now left an open seat on the Alpine team. This is where it gets interesting. Alpine then made an announcement stating that their sub driver Oscar Piastri would have the seat to really start his Formula 1 career. THEN Oscar let out a statement basically saying that he would not be taking the seat. He was then found to be heavily linked to McLaren. Many people including myself didn’t believe that he could fit the move to McLaren because Riccardio and Lando Norris both still had time in their contracts. This was proved wrong on Wednesday, August 24th.

That day, I went onto Instagram and the first thing on my feed was Daniel Riccardio’s face popping up , wearing the sacred black t-shirt. Basically anytime a driver hops on Instagram in a black Tee means they are announcing something big, possibly retirement. Because of the news with Piastri I expected the worst. Riccardio proceeded to say, “This will be my last year…” – my heart froze when he stopped for a split second – “with McLaren,” he said. Thank God. If you couldn’t tell, Daniel Riccardio is my favorite driver on and off the track, so when he initially said those words I thought he was done but as he continued relief washed over me, but then I realized what he was saying. Oscar Piastri was going to take Daniel Riccardio’s seat at McLaren, leaving Daniel vulnerable. There was technically still an open seat at Alpine for next year, but whether Riccardio would join Esteban Ocon at the team next year is still unknown.

I am relatively new to the F1 scene considering this is my first season watching continuously so I don’t know everything there is to know, but I have developed my own opinions over the years from watching a bit here and there. I do have very strong opinions over this subject though. My favorite team has always been Ferrari, but because of Daniel Riccardio I have also developed a liking for McLaren. The way they have handled this situation has been nothing but terrible though. They broke a contract a year before it ended with a driver who has not been winning, not because of his driving abilities but because of their cars. They have lost two great drivers in Carlos Sainz and Daniel Riccardio over the last five years. If they continue to make these changes and cause friction between Lando Norris and his teammates, they will never make it to being/beating big names like Red Bull, Ferrari, and Mercedes.