Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo has signed a multi-year contract with McLaren beginning in 2021, calling time on his big-money two years at Renault.
The 30-year-old, who has won seven Grands Prix, will finish this year’s interrupted season with the French team.
In a tweet Ricciardo said he was grateful for his time at Renault and the way he was accepted into the team, adding: “But we aren’t done and I can’t wait to get back on the grid this year. My next chapter isn’t here yet, so let’s finish this one strong. Merci.”
McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl said the team was excited to have a proven race winner take the seat vacated by Carlos Sainz, who left for Ferrari.
“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,” Seidl said.
“With Daniel and Lando as teammates, 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.”
The news was accepted by Renault team principal Cyril Abiteboul, although the team had wished to retain its star signing from 2019.
“In our sport, and particularly within the current extraordinary situation, reciprocated confidence, unity and commitment are, more than ever, critical values for a works team,” Abiteboul said.
Already organisers of the Australian Grand Prix are looking forward to Ricciardo’s return to Albert Park after this year’s disappointing race cancellation.
“McLaren has a rich history at the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park, with David Coulthard and Jenson Button twice winning here in a McLaren, as well as Mika Häkkinen and Lewis Hamilton once each, so we’re excited to see what’s in store for Daniel next year,” said chief executive Andrew Westacott.
“They’re switching to a Mercedes power unit in 2021 which will hopefully have them in contention for championship honours,” Westacott said.
“McLaren have had a cavalcade of stars winning world championships, with names such as Emerson Fittipaldi, James Hunt, Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Häkkinen and Hamilton.
“It’s an illustrious list and hopefully Daniel is on the right path to achieve his dream in a McLaren.”