May 31 (GMM) The writing is on the wall for Daniel Ricciardo’s Formula 1 career at McLaren.
That is the blunt assessment of outspoken 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve, who thinks it’s clear that the Woking based team will replace the underperforming Australian for 2023.
“Ricciardo’s time at McLaren is over,” the Canadian told the Dutch publication Formule 1.
“Zak Brown is already saying that there are clauses in the contract and that means that a decision has basically been made,” Villeneuve added. “It’s a way to put the pressure on the driver and prepare the media.
“Ultimately, he is a dearly paid driver who costs the team a lot of money,” he explained. “He doesn’t bring in any points and he doesn’t have the speed the team needs to develop the car. So he just costs them money.
“It would be cheaper to continue paying Ricciardo’s salary, let him sit on the couch at home and put another driver in the car. It’s the harsh reality, but that’s Formula 1,” Villeneuve said.
Former Red Bull race winner Ricciardo, 32, has not yet been seriously or speculatively linked with other F1 teams for 2023.
He is not letting the current comments about his future get him down.
“My skin is tanned, beautiful and also thick,” Ricciardo smiled. “No one’s going to be harder on me than myself.”