McLaren and Daniel Ricciardo have decided to part ways at the conclusion of the current Formula 1 season, ending his employment with the Woking-based team early.
At the conclusion of the 2022 F1 season, Ricciardo and McLaren will split ways.
Following the Australian's persistent struggles to get along with colleague Lando Norris over the course of their two years working together, McLaren started a procedure few weeks ago to agree to a separation.
McLaren started talks with Ricciardo about terminating his current contract in order to free up a spot for Oscar Piastri in 2023, who is currently embroiled in a contract dispute with the Alpine team where he serves as a reserve driver.
Now that those discussions have come to an end, Ricciardo and McLaren have decided that this will be his last year with the team. Prior to this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix, the Australian driver made the initial announcement of the news on Wednesday.
The former Red Bull and Renault driver initially signed a three-year contract with McLaren in 2021, with Ricciardo having the final choice on whether or not to complete the last year. He claimed that up until recently, despite some competitive difficulties, he was entirely devoted to seeing things through.
However, given the need for change at McLaren and the fact that the team's situation had not significantly improved, both parties ultimately decided that continuing was not the best course of action. Ricciardo will reportedly receive his full contract salary for 2023, but he is also free to compete anywhere else.
Although Ricciardo defeated Norris to win the Italian Grand Prix last year, his time at McLaren has been marked by intense frustration because he has struggled to master the car's characteristics.
While there have occasionally been glimpses of improvement, Ricciardo's recent inability to maintain the momentum he seemed to have earned following the Monaco Grand Prix has raised concerns once more about the possibility that he would never achieve the breakthrough necessary to catch Norris.
Ricciardo's failure to provide as many points as anticipated to aid McLaren's constructors' title battle against Alpine has also led to the team's decision to take action.
Ricciardo has only earned 19 points this season, compared to Norris' 76, which included a podium finish at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Sixth place at his home race in Melbourne was his best placing.
In the race for fourth place in the constructions championship, where each spot in the standings is worth several million pounds in bonus prize money, McLaren is presently four points behind Alpine.
Since Ricciardo has committed to staying with McLaren for the entire 2022 season, he is now free to explore other opportunities. One of those may be a return to the Alpine team, which might be without a second driver if Piastri is confirmed for McLaren.
Even though the team is unsure of whether it would be able to retain Piastri, Ricciardo and McLaren have decided to part ways.
The Alpine team believes it has an agreement in place for the Australian kid to race for it, and the team and driver feel they have a formal contract in place for next year.
The F1 Contracts Recognition Board has yet to rule on the situation, and it's probable that several weeks may pass before it does.