Daniel Ricciardo joins McLaren on £31m two-year deal

Daniel Ricciardo joins McLaren on a £31m two-year deal as Carlos Sainz quits to head to Ferrari to replace Sebastian Vettel… leaving Lewis Hamilton stuck in the hot seat at Mercedes

  • Daniel Ricciardo has signed a two-year deal with McLaren worth £31m
  • Ricciardo will leave Renault at the end of the year to team up with Lando Norris
  • The Australian’s move has paved the way for Carlos Sainz to sign for Ferrari
  • Sainz will replace Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari after signing a two-year contract
  • Move means Lewis Hamilton, who was linked to Ferrari, must stay at Mercedes

Daniel Ricciardo has landed a mammoth £31million contract to join McLaren for 2021 and take the seat of Ferrari-bound Carlos Sainz. 

The Renault driver has penned a two-year deal and will leave at the end of the year to join up with Lando Norris at McLaren, paving the way for Sainz’s move to Ferrari.

The 25-year-old Sainz has been confirmed as the replacement for four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, who will leave Ferrari when his contract expires at the end of the season.

Daniel Ricciardo has landed a mammoth £31million contract to join McLaren for 2021

Sebastian Vettel will quit Ferrari when his contract is up at the end of the 2020 season

McLaren star Carlos Sainz has signed a two-year deal to replace Vettel at Ferrari

Ricciardo’s move has freed up Carlos Sainz (R) to replace Sebastian Vettel (L) at Ferrari

Sainz, who achieved a career-best third-place finish in last season’s penultimate race in Brazil, had been in negotiations to stay with McLaren beyond 2020 but the appeal of joining a top team has convinced him to move.

‘I am very happy that I will be driving for Scuderia Ferrari in 2021 and I’m excited about my future with the team,’ he said on Thursday.

‘I still have an important year ahead with McLaren Racing and I’m really looking forward to going racing again with them this season.’ 

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto described the teaming up of Sainz and Charles Leclerc as ‘the best possible combination’ after the Spaniard signed a two-year deal with them.

There had been intense speculation that Lewis Hamilton could leave Mercedes to race in the famous red of Ferrari but the Brit must now remain where he is. 

Ricciardo, meanwhile, will take Sainz’s place at McLaren and has been hailed by their team principal as a huge coup, having been on their radar for some time. 

Andreas Seidl said: ‘Daniel is a proven race-winner and his experience, commitment and energy will be a valuable addition to McLaren and our mission to return to the front of the field.’

Ricciardo surprisingly left Red Bull, a team with whom he had won seven races in five seasons between 2004 and 2018, to sign a two-year contract with Renault. 

World champion Lewis Hamilton was linked with Ferrari but will now have to stay at Mercedes

World champion Lewis Hamilton was linked with Ferrari but will now have to stay at Mercedes

Ricciardo pictured racing for Renault at last season's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in December

Ricciardo pictured racing for Renault at last season’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in December

Sainz, who achieved a career-best third place at the Brazil GP, has left McLaren for Ferrari

Sainz, who achieved a career-best third place at the Brazil GP, has left McLaren for Ferrari

Renault confirmed they had been in talks about extending Ricciardo’s deal but that they proved to be unsuccessful. 

McLaren CEO Zak Brown said: ‘Signing Daniel is another step forward in our long-term plan and will bring an exciting new dimension to the team, alongside Lando. This is good news for our team, partners and of course our fans.’

Brown also thanked Sainz for his contribution at McLaren, adding: ‘I want to pay tribute to Carlos for the excellent job he has been doing for McLaren in helping our performance recovery plan. 

‘He is a real team player and we wish him well for his future beyond McLaren.’