Daniel Ricciardo has confirmed his McLaren contract is for three years, rather than the shorter contract most assumed was the case.
Speaking at the launch of McLaren's new car for the 2021 F1 season, Ricciardo said the team's recent investments boosted his confidence in signing.
“It’s three years, so it’s certainly enough time to get this thing going. Obviously, I feel I’m coming here with a bunch of momentum behind the team as well. And I think as well not only results, but [there’s] some really good stability in the team and the infrastructure.”
The three-year agreement is a sign of faith from the Woking squad which hasn't delivered a win since 2012, a drivers title since 2008, or a constructors championship since 1998. Daniel Ricciardo will be keen to add to McLaren's famous trophy wall which dominates one of the main walkways at the factory.
Daniel Ricciardo's vote of confidence comes at a key point for McLaren, with their restructure completed and the switch to Mercedes engines looking like a positive move for the team.
Expectations are high for the British team to fight their way back into regular victory contention over the coming seasons. With an engine development freeze on the way for 2022, creating an allegiance with a strong manufacturer is important for an independent outfit.
With the mixture of experience and youth that Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris provide, it's clear that the once unbeatable team of Senna and Prost are looking to the future rather than their history.
The weight of expectation on Daniel Ricciardo
Daniel Ricciardo has long been seen as a potential world champion. However, now in his 30s and joining the fifth team of his F1 career, he really needs to find a situation for the longer term where consistent results are on the table. It looks like McLaren could finally be the home he needs.
The team themselves were in need of a long-term driving partnership after years of cycling through inexperienced racers. Kevin Magnussen, Stoffel Vandoorne, and Sergio Perez have all tried and failed to spearhead the McLaren turnaround. Time will tell if the Ricciardo-Norris pairing can return McLaren to the glory days.