Ricciardo replaces Sainz at McLaren for 2021

Daniel Ricciardo will race for McLaren alongside Lando Norris in 2021, after the team confirmed he would be replacing Carlos Sainz.

Sebastian Vettel’s departure from Ferrari has sparked a raft of changes in the driver market, with Sainz expected to be confirmed as Vettel’s replacement at some point this week.

The move left a seat available for Ricciardo, who had been eying up a move to the Woking-based squad before eventually signing with Renault last year.

The Australian moved to Renault from Red Bull at the end of 2018, stating that he felt they had the potential to break in to the top three, but early on last year it became evident that Renault had fallen further behind their rivals, rather than moving closer, while McLaren became the best of the rest, behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

Speaking about the announcement, Mclaren Racing 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.

“I also 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.”

Ricciardo brings race winning experience back to McLaren for the first time since Fernando Alonso left the team in 2018, with the 30-year-old having won on seven occasions, and McLaren Team Principal, Andreas Seidl believes that experience will be valuable in helping the team return to the front.

“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.” commented Seidl.

“With Daniel and Lando as teammates, I believe we have two racers who will continue to excite our fans and help the team grow.”

It remains to be seen who will take Ricciardo’s seat at Renault, but Vettel and Alonso are the current favourites to secure the drive.