Is Ricciardo's McLaren move the right one?

Daniel Ricciardo’s time at Renault will now forever be seen as just a short- rebound relationship with the Australian set to depart Enstone for what he hopes are the greener pastures at McLaren.

Posted:

Daniel Ricciardo’s time at Renault will now forever be seen as just a short- rebound relationship with the Australian set to depart Enstone for what he hopes are the greener pastures at McLaren.

Ricciardo will replace Ferrari-bound Carlos Sainz at the resurgent Woking squad from 2021, the 30-year-old on the hunt for a more competitive seat despite being overlooked - again - by the Scuderia.

Ricciardo will become the first Australian to race for the British squad, and will get his first taste of Mercedes grunt - having been powered by Renault in the hybrid era, and Ferrari and Cosworth before that.

The Perth-born racer first spoke with McLaren about a move while at Red Bull, where he was frustrated after repeated failed title bid promises - and with no chance to move to the Prancing Horse or the Silver Arrows.

But, Ricciardo defected to Enstone on an alleged $26.5 million pound a season salary - believing the Renault seat to be more-competitive and the squad on a then-upward trajectory.

Early-season unreliability and mistakes destroyed that dream - the squad recovering to fifth in the standings. Ricciardo ninth, scoring points in three of the last four races. Fourth at Monza, his best result all-year.

He did, however, see it for what it was - a learning experience.

SOUNDBITE (English) DANIEL RICCIARDO, F1 DRIVER, RENAULT: “I learnt a lot, obviously about myself - trying to integrate within a new team and tried to be a team leader in some respects. I tried to earn people’s trust and encouragement, building relationships with the people around me, particularly the engineering group.”

Ricciardo goes into his second and final season with Renault targeting a podium - a result McLaren has already secured: with Sainz third in Brazil last year - suggesting he will at least take a step forward.

SOUNDBITE (English) DANIEL RICCIARDO, F1 DRIVER, RENAULT: “You know, when I signed this initial two-year contract, I saw a podium in that signing, if you know what I mean. So that’s really, as far as a target position goes, that would be a personal objective for me. Something I think is attainable.”

But, in switching teams, Ricciardo will have to prove it all again - with the midfield his reality and a race winning car a distant memory. Avoiding the journeyman tag, though, will be a difficult task.