Daniel Ricciardo is perhaps the biggest disappointment of the Formula 1 season so far. While Lando Norris in the McLaren has already finished in the top ten, ten times this year and collected 76 championship points, the Australian has only scored points four times with only 19 points. The British team has long been working on an alternative to Ricciardo and is signing top talent rookie driver Oscar Piastri. McLaren is said to have to dig deep with a huge pay off for Ricciardo.
The termination of the current contract with the honey badger could cost McLaren many millions, however. In Australian media, there is currently intense speculation about how the tricky situation surrounding the disappointing Ricciardo and his up-and-coming compatriot Piastri could be resolved with Ricciardo being said to have a unilateral clause in his current employment contract. According to this clause, only he alone can decide to continue driving or not for the McLaren racing team in 2023.
In order to buy this clause from the 33-year-old, McLaren must pay the eight-time Grand Prix winner the equivalent of more than 20 million euros. At least that is what the Australian website speedcafe.com reported. Also, racingnews365 wrote an article on the subject.
McLaren is currently said to be preparing for this so-called severance payment in order to buy the long-serving Formula 1 driver out of his current employment contract but could this really be the case?
At the GP in Monaco Zak Brown revealed, “I don’t want to get into the contract [details] but there But there are mechanisms in which we are committed to each other and then there are mechanisms in which we are not.”
This implies a break clause at the end of Daniel’s 2 year contract this winter. Ricciardo will have an option to break but Brown implies McLaren does too.
The break clause from McLaren’s perspective would almost certainly be based on a performance metric. Ricciardo may have been set an absolute target number of points by race 14, or it could be he is expected to score no less than a certain percentage of the points his team mate has achieved.
Daniel Ricciardo has been driving for McLaren since 2021, but is falling well short of expectations this year. In racing comparisons with teammate Lando Norris this season, it’s 4-9 from the perspective of the much more experienced man from Perth. The qualifying Ricciardo loses out even more, only besting Norris twice to his loss of eleven occasions.
In a swap with compatriot Oscar Piastri (currently a reserve and test driver), Ricciardo is most likely to be drawn back to Alpine (formerly Renault) next year. This website wrote an article on the news some weeks ago ahead of the mainstream media.