‘World-class’ Norris could end Ricciardo’s career as McLaren eye Gasly

Daniel Ricciardo has faced criticism from McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown in recent weeks as Lando Norris continues to outperform him.

Former Formula 1 driver Ralf Schumacher is struggling to see a future for Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren next year in light of his current form.

Ricciardo has been out-qualified in 10 of the last 11 races by team-mate Lando Norris, and has only managed points in three of the last 12 race weekends.

By contrast, Norris has been in the points in 11 of them, and got onto the podium in Imola earlier this season.

READ: ‘Lando is destroying him’: Ricciardo warned his F1 career is likely to soon end

The Australian has failed to score points in any of the last four and, following his slump from ninth to 12th in Spain, received public criticism from CEO Zak Brown.

He ended the Monaco Grand Prix in 13th, and Schumacher reckons the picture looks fairly bleak for the eight-time race winner.

“He’s just too far away from his teammate. I’m curious how the future looks for him,” he told Sky Germany.

“It will be quite difficult for him if it stays the way it is now, I don’t see him at McLaren next year.”

2016 champion Nico Rosberg sympathises with the 32-year-old, affirming that he is not being helped by the presence of Norris, who he tips to be a world champion one day.

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“It is a tough situation for Daniel with Zak Brown publicly saying he’s not living up to expectations,” added the 36-year-old.

“This is the difficult thing for Daniel because Lando is driving at a world-class level. He is a future F1 world champion.”

Brown stated ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix that there are “mechanisms” in Ricciardo’s contract, indicative that the Woking side may decide to terminate the Australian’s deal early.

READ: Hamilton unsure of Mercedes development path

1980 world champion Alan Jones warns that a signature on the dotted line gives few assurances if things are simply not working out.

“A contract in Formula 1 doesn’t mean much… but if the situation remains the same as it is I have no doubt in my mind they will exercise one of those options that are in the contract,” explained the Australian.

“He is a great little race driver and he is a hell of a nice guy but, of course, we all know nice guys don’t get anywhere, particularly in F1.”

The 12-time race winner believes that Ricciardo’s friendly, happy-go-lucky personality is not becoming of a racing driver with aspirations of winning a title.

“The biggest dick you are, the better off you are. There are a few out there at the moment that have proved that,” added Jones.

Ricciardo will head to Baku, where he won in 2017, aiming to improve his fortunes and put his McLaren career back on the right track next weekend.

Should he be replaced at the end of the season though, IndyCar drivers Colton Herta and Patricio O’Ward, Alpine reserve Oscar Piastri, and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly could all be options.