Current deal not Ricciardo’s last F1 title chance
By Mat Coch
Tuesday 23rd February, 2021 - 8:00am
Daniel Ricciardo doesn’t believe his current McLaren deal is his last chance to become Formula 1 world champion.
The Australian will be 34 when his current three-year deal with the British squad expires at the end of the 2023 season.
Ricciardo moved from Renault citing the work going on behind the scenes with McLaren as a motivating factor.
The team has invested in staff and infrastructure as it looks to return to winning ways.
McLaren’s last grand prix win came at the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix courtesy of Jenson Button, while Lewis Hamilton delivered its last world championship in 2008.
Regulation changes set to be introduced next year promise to shake up the pecking order, and are viewed by many as an opportunity to make gains.
Should it not, or should McLaren’s quest need more time, Ricciardo doesn’t feel his current deal presents his last opportunity to win a world championship.
“I’m probably against saying my last chance,” he said when asked by Speedcafe.com about his world championship hopes.
“I certainly don’t want to drag it out ’til I’m 40, still scraping, try to get it.
“I certainly hope I’ve achieved it before then, but I don’t want to say it’s my last chance, but it’s a big chance and one that I certainly want to make the most of.
“Looking at what Lewis has done the last few years, I think he’s got maybe three years on me, three or four, and he’s obviously still performing at a high level.
“So I’m pretty much in the mindset, If I want to keep doing it, if I’ve still obviously got that love and that desire in me, then I can ride this out for a few more years for sure.
“Right now, I certainly feel like I’m still on that good level of my prime and that wealth of experience.
“Definitely want to make it happen sooner rather than later, and before I’ve got grey hairs hopefully I’m holding a big trophy.”
The coming season marks Ricciardo’s 11th in Formula 1, a career which started courtesy of Red Bull support at minnows HRT for the back half of 2011.
He then moved to Toro Rosso for 2012 and the senior Red Bull team from 2014.
Seven race wins followed with the operation before a switch to Renault in 2019.
Ricciardo took part in a recent shakedown of the McLaren MCL35M at Silverstone, his first outing for his new team.
He’ll be back in the car for pre-season testing in Bahrain from March 12-14, ahead of the opening race of the season at the same venue two weeks later.