Grand prix

Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren future? “I know my contract,” he says, while Andreas Seidl reaffirms “commitment” | F1

The Australian is contracted until the end of next year but team boss Andreas Seidl opened the door to his early exit when, earlier this season, he revealed “mechanisms” in the contract.

Ricciardo has endured a tough season and finished the F1 French Grand Prix in ninth, with teammate Lando Norris seventh.

McLaren have used Colton Herta and Alex Palou in testing this season while Oscar Piastri has joined them as a reserve driver. They have each been linked with Ricciardo’s drive – while the BBC have linked Sebastian Vettel and Alex Albon to taking his spot.

But Seidl told Sky before the F1 French Grand Prix that McLaren intend to keep Ricciardo for the duration of his contract: “Yes, absolutely. He is committed. We are committed from our side.

“We need to keep working hard together to find these last percentages that are missing at the moment.

“That is what we spend all of our energy on.”

Seidl explained why Herta and Palou have driven for McLaren in testing: “First and foremost we look to the short-term future. We have to put rookies into Free Practice 1 sessions. That’s why we give different guys a chance to see what they can do in our one-year-old F1 car, then make up our mind who gets a few FP1 sessions.

“Palou and Colton both did a great job. They are impressive which is no surprise.

“My short-term need is to have one or two drivers to fill a seat when we need to do FP1 sessions.”

He reiterated about Ricciardo and improving their performance together: “It is always a combination – we try, on our side, for what we can do. He feels comfortable when pushing the car to the absolute limit. He adapts. He puts in a lot of work with the engineers in Woking.”

Ricciardo said to Sky: “I know what I’ve got. I know my future. I know my contract.

“People create questions and their own answers.”

Ricciardo had posted on social media in an attempt to quell speculation that he would be replaced: “I was setting it straight.

“Bad days are sometimes the best days because it ignites a fire in my gut.

“Give me a winning car and I’ll win. That’s the challenge for myself and McLaren.

“That is the confidence I have in myself. That’s why I wake up and still want to do this.

“We have been up and down. Ultimately we are now in a fight for fourth in the championship.

“It is our target to maintain fourth. It hasn’t been the first six months that we wanted.

“I feel like we are getting closer.”

Ricciardo: “I’ve not forgotten how to drive”

The 33-year-old has eight wins in his 11 years as an F1 driver. In 2014 and 2016 he came third in the championship standings.

In an exclusive interview with Crash.Net earlier this season he said: “The reality is I’ve not forgotten how to drive in six months, I haven’t lost my competitive edge, it’s just kind of a moment in time that I knew I could come out of.”

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