Jacques Villeneuve thinks that Daniel Ricciardo's relationship with McLaren is coming to an end. The Australian joined the Woking-based squad for the 2021 season, but has mostly struggled to match teammate Lando Norris, despite claiming a victory at last year's Italian Grand Prix. Ricciardo has had a particularly tough 2022 campaign so far, having only scored 11 points in comparison to Norris' 48. Speculation continues to mount over Ricciardo's future with the team, particularly in light of McLaren CEO Zak Brown's recent comments about the driver not meeting expectations.
Villeneuve thinks writing is on the wall for Ricciardo
While the rumours swirl, Villeneuve believes that McLaren may have already made a decision about Ricciardo's time with the squad. "Daniel Ricciardo's time at McLaren is over," Villeneuve wrote in his column for Formule1.nl . "CEO Zak Brown is now saying that there are clauses in his contract, and that means that a decision has almost been made. "It's a way to put the pressure on the driver and prepare the media."
What does Ricciardo's contract mean for his future?
Ricciardo's contract was confirmed by him to be a three-year deal to keep him at Woking until the end of 2023, but Villeneuve argues that it makes more sense for McLaren to pay him off rather than continue as they are. "Ultimately, he has been a highly-paid driver who has cost the team a lot of money," the 1997 World Champion said. "He doesn't bring in any points and he doesn't have the speed the team needs to develop the car. So he's just costing them money. "It would be cheaper for them to continue paying Ricciardo's salary, let him sit on the couch at home, and put another driver in the car. It's a harsh reality, but that's Formula 1."