Daniel Ricciardo has been ousted by McLaren after the British team terminated his contract.
The Australian, an eight-time grand prix winner, had a deal until the end of 2023, and only last month insisted he was ‘committed to McLaren until the end of next year’.
But McLaren’s hierarchy has moved to end the 33-year-old’s disappointing two-season stint with the team by paying off the final season of his deal.
Ricciardo will leave McLaren at the end of the current campaign, and is expected to be replaced by the highly-rated Oscar Piastri, 21.
Earlier this month Alpine announced that Piastri, a reserve driver for the French team, would be racing for them next season – only for the Australian to say he was not – with the Formula Two champion believed to have already agreed terms with McLaren.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, Ricciardo said: ‘It’s been a privilege to be a part of the McLaren Racing family for the last two seasons but following several months of discussions with [McLaren CEO] Zak Brown and [team principal] Andreas Seidl we have decided to terminate my contract with the team early and agree to mutually part ways at the end of this season.
‘I’ll be announcing my own future plans in due course but regardless of what this next chapter brings, I have no regrets and am proud of the effort and work I gave McLaren, especially the win in Monza, last season.
‘I’ve enjoyed working with everyone at McLaren both trackside and back in Woking and will be giving my all on and off track as we enjoy the remainder of the season together.
‘I’ve never been more motivated to compete and be a part of a sport that I love so much and look forward to what comes next.’
In a video posted on social media, the he added: ‘It is not great news, bittersweet for sure.
‘It has not worked the way we wanted so the team has decided to make a change for next year. I will absolutely continue to do the rest of the year and I will continue to give it my all.
‘For the future, and what lies ahead, I am not sure yet. The sport, I still love it. I still have that fire in me, the belief un my belly, that I can do this at the highest level. This isn’t it for me but we will see what lies ahead.’
Although Ricciardo ended McLaren’s nine-year winning drought with victory at the Italian Grand Prix last season, he has consistently been out-performed by Britain’s Lando Norris.
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