Former Formula 1 driver Marc Surer says it is a pity that Daniel Ricciardo does not currently have the form he possessed at Red Bull, and does not see the Australian remaining at McLaren next year.
Ricciardo has scored points on just 15 occasions since he joined the Woking side last year, and he has failed to score at all in the last four races.
He two top 10 finishes in race trim in the last 12 barely stack up at all in comparison to team-mate Lando Norris, who has been in the points on 11 occasions during that spell.
Ricciardo’s win in Monza last season was one of the few highlights of a spell with McLaren that simply has not worked out, and he will need a massive improvement if he wants an extension to his contract that expires at the end of 2023.
Surer raced for five different teams in his F1 career, and made six switches, so he is familiar with how a contract works in the pinnacle of motorsport, and he reckons McLaren and Ricciardo, barring “a miracle,” will part ways at the end of this season.
“First of all I have to say I was a fan of Ricciardo because of his overtaking ability,” Surer told Formula1News.co.uk.
“He could brake later than anybody else and still make the corner, what the hell happened to this ability? It’s not there anymore, what a shame.
“Normally, all the contracts have a performance clause. This is something both want – the driver because if the car is not as good as he expected, or the other way around, so this will be something we will never find out.
“The other thing is, an agreement can always be ended by both sides if both agree.
“So, in his case, that will happen, at the latest, the end of this year. I cannot see how they can continue [beyond 2022].
“Only if a miracle happens and he starts winning races again but, otherwise, I think that’s the last season for him at McLaren.
“As well, I think Zak Brown is quite a tough businessman.”
Among the names to replace him is Pierre Gasly, who is out of contract at AlphaTauri this season.
The Frenchman’s deal with the Red Bull team, with whom he suffered an abysmal half season in 2019, ends next year, so it is very likely that the junior side will extend his deal for a further 12 months if he does not find another team for 2023.
Surer also noted that Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas might have beeen another candidate to replace Ricciardo, but he is on a long-term deal with the Swiss side having signed at the beginning of 2022, so Gasly would be the more plausible option.
“I do know Bottas has a long-term contract with Alfa Romeo so that means it is Gasly, and I would be very happy to see Gasly in a McLaren, even if I think as a Frenchman, he should be in the Alpine,” explained Surer.
The 26-year-old’s route back to Red Bull now looks permanently cut off by the announcement of Sergio Perez’s contract extension until the end of 2024.
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