The motorsport world is abuzz with reports that Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo has missed his chance to drive at Ferrari and instead will move to McLaren to replace youngster Carlos Sainz Jr who has snared the prize seat at the Italian team.
Sebastian Vettel’s decision to leave Ferrari at the end of this year’s disrupted season has set off a flurry of contract negotiations.
Autosport.com has reported that a deal has been struck with current McLaren driver Sainz, with an announcement expected in coming days.
Ricciardo, who is out of contract with Renault at the end of 2020 after accepting a big-money deal in 2019, is desperate to give himself a chance at a world championship.
McLaren raced a far superior car to Ricciardo’s Renault last year and looks the best-placed mid-field team to challenge the big three – Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari – having finished fourth in the constructors championship.
Ricciardo has made no secret of wanting a competitive car, although he has always maintained he was committed to the Renault project despite disappointing results after his 2019 switch from Red Bull where he won seven Grands Prix.
The 30-year-old has been in lockdown at home in Western Australia since round one of the season faltered at Melbourne in early March and told The New Daily two weeks ago that it would be a bizarre situation to be deciding his future without having raced this year.
If Ricciardo were to move the formula one paddock would have to contend with some supercharged antics from Ricciardo and McLaren’s other young driver Lando Norris, with the pair engaging in a series of pranks throughout last season.
Although, given the rivalry between teammates in F1, the bromance could well cool in 2021.