McLaren swoop for Daniel Ricciardo as Carlos Sainz replacement for 2021
In the second big driver move of the week, McLaren have announced the signing of Daniel Ricciardo for 2021 on a "multi-year" deal.
Ferrari revealed on Tuesday that Sebastian Vettel would be leaving the team at the end of the year – a move which has triggered a host of other driver switches up and down the grid.
McLaren today confirmed that Carlos Sainz is leaving the Woking team, with Ferrari expected to announce the Spaniard as Vettel's replacement later today, and following that switch McLaren have moved swiftly to slot Ricciardo into the seat Sainz is vacating.
The Australian is currently partway through a two-year deal with Renault after he left Red Bull at the end of 2018 to join the French manufacturer, but has now clearly decided McLaren are a better bet for his future, especially with Mercedes engines from next year.
McLaren have also confirmed that current driver Lando Norris will remain with the team for a third year in 2021, partnering Ricciardo.
McLaren boss Zak Brown has overseen a major reorganisation since taking over from former chief Ron Dennis, bringing in Andreas Seidl as team principal and James Key as Technical Director as they look to fight their way back to the front of the grid. Landing a highly-rated race winning driver in Ricciardo is another coup for Brown.
He said: “Signing Daniel is another step forward in our long-term plan and will bring an exciting new dimension to the team, alongside Lando. This is good news for our team, partners and of course our fans.
“I also want to pay tribute to Carlos for the excellent job he has been doing for McLaren in helping our performance recovery plan. He is a real team player and we wish him well for his future beyond McLaren.”
Seidl added: “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 team mates, I believe we have two racers who will continue to excite our fans and help the team grow.
“Carlos is a true professional, a pleasure to work with and we will continue to enjoy going racing with him this year. We all wish him good luck for the next stage in his career when he leaves McLaren.”
Renault confirmed Ricciardo was leaving the team in a short statement on Thursday morning.