Sebastian Vettel believes that McLaren shares some of the responsibility for Daniel Ricciardo’s struggles and abrupt departure from the Formula 1 team.
A “mutual agreement” between the two sides sees the two parties part ways following the second year of a three-year contract, bringing an end to Daniel Ricciardo’s stay at McLaren at the end of the 2022 season.
The Australian driver has revealed that a sabbatical may be in the works if he is unable to secure a suitable home over the next nine races of the current season. He is currently without a drive in F1 for 2023.
He departed Alpine at the end of the 2020 season when it was named Renault, so there’s a chance he’ll join them again. However, a new contender has surfaced, as Haas is rumored to be interested in recruiting the former Red Bull racer.
Ricciardo’s departure from McLaren for the 2023 season has made room for Oscar Piastri, a junior from Alpine. Even though he was able to break McLaren’s winless streak at Monza last year, Ricciardo has been outperformed by younger teammate Lando Norris since joining the squad in 2021.
Despite the massive overhaul of the 2022 regulations, Ricciardo has never truly appeared at home with the McLaren cars. Some of Ricciardo’s competitors are shaking their heads in agreement over this issue, with one of Ricciardo’s former teammates placing full responsibility for the failures on McLaren.
In the beginning of his Formula One career, Ricciardo and Vettel were teammates at Red Bull in 2014.
The four-time champion was outperformed by the Australian, who shocked everyone by winning three races to Vettel’s zero. Vettel eventually left and joined Ferrari for the next season as a result of his performance.
Speaking before the Belgian Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel admitted that he missed the’silly season’ drama in Formula 1 over the break but learned about the future of his former teammate.
“I heard it was quite turbulent… Maybe I have too much empathy for a Formula 1 driver but I was very saddened hearing what’s going to happen to Daniel,” Sebastian Vettel told media in Belgium. “I think it’s a very, very difficult situation to be in.”
“I think he’s still one of the best drivers I raced against, I had the pleasure of racing against him and the not-so-pleasurable side of getting beaten by him years ago, and I think he still has very much to offer.”
“I think in this regard, I don’t know the details, but I guess McLaren failed to extract the potential that he has.”
“It’s sad to see that he’s been put in a difficult position, but I wish him all the best, and I’m sure that the talent he has and the qualities he has will shine through.”
Eight years later, Vettel has also had to contend with competing in cars that he hasn’t quite clicked with, but he insisted that he is certain that Ricciardo still possesses the capacity to succeed.
Ironically, the unexpected retirement of Sebastian Vettel prior to the Hungarian Grand Prix set off a domino effect in the 2023 F1 driver market.
Fernando Alonso was swiftly named as Vettel’s replacement before Alpine officially declared Piastri would be moving up to take a fulltime driver role after being a reserve for the team.
Ricciardo knew what was coming when Piastri announced on social media that he would be joining McLaren. Since then, Haas and Williams have been mentioned as potential replacements, while Ricciardo has been connected with a return to Alpine.