‘My career is NOT done’: Under-pressure Daniel Ricciardo insists he can STILL win races in Formula 1 but admits he has not McLaren’s expectations amid difficult season
- Daniel Ricciardo’s future at McLaren is uncertain following a difficult season
- The Australian has finished in the points just three times from 11 rounds so far
- Ricciardo’s two-year deal with McLaren runs out at the end of 2023
- Zak Brown said there are ‘mechanisms’ for team to end contract before then
- But Aussie star insists he still has plenty to give to Formula 1
Daniel Ricciardo has come out swinging at his critics, insisting he can still compete with the best in Formula 1 and that his career in the sport is far from ‘done’.
The Australian’s job has come under scrutiny this season, with Ricciardo finishing in the top 10 – where drivers earn world championship points – just three times in the first 11 rounds and scoring only 17 points as a result.
In contrast, team-mate Lando Norris has racked up 67 points, courtesy of eight top-10 finishes which include McLaren’s only podium of the season.
Daniel Ricciardo insists he can still compete with the best in Formula 1 this season
The Briton has five podiums to Ricciardo’s one since the latter joined McLaren at the beginning of last season, but the Australian’s solitary appearance on the podium came as he won the Italian Grand Prix at Monza last year.
It was McLaren’s first win in nine years and the former Red Bull star believes it proved he can still cut it with the very best in the sport.
‘Everyone knows my history in the sport,’ he told Fox Sports. ‘I haven’t won a hundred races but I’ve won enough to kind of let people know that I can do this.
‘I think one thing I’ve always shown is: give me a winning car and I’ll cross the line first. I feel like I’ve never left a win on the table.
The Australian has finished in the points just three times in 11 rounds so far this year
Ricciardo has repeatedly lamented a lack of feeling with his McLaren car this season
‘It’s really just trying to get to that place.’
Former F1 world champions Alan Jones, Jacques Villeneuve and Nico Rosberg have all expressed concerns Ricciardo may lose his seat next season, but the Aussie is determined to be on the grid in 2023.
‘[My career] it’s certainly not done,’ he said. ‘I’m definitely confident that we can get some — and I personally can get some — still big results this year and for years to come.
‘It’s kind of like Monza last year. I said I never left, and I feel like I need to say it again. […] I’m still very much here.’
McLaren boss Zak Brown has warned Ricciardo he has not met expectations
And the Australian has regularly been outscored by teammate Lando Norris (right)
Rumours over Ricciardo’s future have swirled around for months, at times fuelled by comments from McLaren team boss Zak Brown.
In May, Brown conceded Ricciardo had not met expectations and hinted there were ‘mechanisms’ in his contract that could see the team move on from the Aussie before his deal expires at the end of 2023.
McLaren have hardly kept a secret they’re planning for the future by handing out test runs to some of the talented young drivers currently on their books.
Ricciardo and McLaren held a clear-the-air meeting last month and he has repeatedly reiterated his commitment to the team, taking to social media to quash rumours over his future once more last week.
The Australian ended McLaren’s nine-year wait for a F1 win at Monza last year
Ricciardo (left) addressed his Formula One future by insisting he’s not going anywhere – he responded to speculation in a post on his social media platform last week (right)
The eight-time Grand Prix winner, however, admitted he has fallen short of his standards at times this season.
‘I think for sure sometimes people’s expectation, I might not always meet that, because of results that I’ve done and obviously winning at Monza,’ he said.
‘I get it, and also I follow Zak’s comments. I’m not going to be jumping up and down with a 12th place. […] I totally get it. I think a lot of this also comes from that they care. They care, they believe in me, they know I can do it.’
The 33-year-old feels McLaren are closer to providing him with a competitive car
Speaking ahead of the French GP at Le Castellet – where he finished sixth, one place behind Norris last season – Ricciardo noted McLaren were making progress with the car.
‘The team is certainly rallying and trying to also help me out and find a car that I’m comfortable in and that we can be comfortable at the front with,’ he added.
‘We’re not far away from it just kind of clicking or happening.