Under pressure Daniel Ricciardo said he has spoken to McLaren team boss Zak Brown and felt he had the team’s full support amid speculation surrounding his Formula 1 future with the former champions.
The 32-year-old Australian moved to McLaren from Renault last season with his contract running until the end of 2023. But his struggles to get to grips with the Woking-based team’s car have continued into a second season, raising questions about whether he will see out the length of his deal.
The speculation intensified after Brown confirmed the existence of exit clauses in Ricciardo’s contract two weeks ago at the Indy 500, on the same weekend as the Monaco Grand Prix, while announcing that McLaren’s IndyCar team had extended their agreement with F1 aspirant Pato O’Ward.
Ricciardo told reporters at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix: “Yeah, so, firstly we’ve spoken, we’ve had a catch-up, The clarity is clear for us moving forward, my contract is clear with the team until the end of next year, I’m fully committed.
“I have the full support of the team and we want to do it together,” he added.
Ricciardo, an eight-time grand prix winner who handed McLaren their first victory since the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2012 at Italy’s Monza last year, has scored points just twice this season, one of which was in Saturday’s ‘Sprint’ race in Imola.
Teammate Lando Norris, who beat Ricciardo last season and was given a new contract this season stretching to the end of 2025, has scored a podium and six points finishes, including the Imola ‘Sprint’, from seven races so far.
Ricciardo, who twice finished third in the overall drivers’ standings while racing for Red Bull, said he hadn’t read too much into Brown’s comments adding his self-belief was intact: “I think stripping it back to the core, I still know what I can do, I still believe I have it.
“It’s not a place of like low self-confidence or low self-esteem… I think in this sport that everything operates at such a high level and if something’s a little bit out of tune it can have a carry-on effect.
“So it’s really just for me to get back in that place where I’m fully in tune with the car and then it’ll come.” (Reporting by Abhishek Takle)