Top 3 possible replacements for Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren

Pierre Gasly as Daniel Ricciardo's replacement could be a very good option
Pierre Gasly as Daniel Ricciardo's replacement could be a very good option

The Daniel Ricciardo-McLaren marriage has not turned out as either of the parties wanted to. The driver has been unable to adapt his driving style to the McLaren MCL36 and consequently, he has been completely outclassed by Lando Norris in the other car. The severity of the situation became clear to everyone when McLaren team boss Zak Brown came out in the media and spoke openly about Ricciardo's performance levels not matching what the driver's or the team's expectations were of him.

Even the Australian driver did not appear too confident in his demeanor at the Monaco GP last weekend. There are certainly rumors floating around that Ricciardo will not be at McLaren next season as the two parties might part ways for the better. Now, if that happens, there is one key spot on the grid that needs to be filled. The question though is who will McLaren opt to fill that slot with?

In this piece, we take a look at the drivers that might be on the shortlist as a replacement for Daniel Ricciardo.

3 possible replacements for Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren

#3 Sebastian Vettel

A driver who might be slowly but steadily making the case for a move to McLaren as Daniel Ricciardo's replacement is Sebastian Vettel. The four-time world champion seems to have got his mojo back and is doing fantastic things in that Aston Martin. At the Monaco GP, Vettel's brilliance helped the team score a point while in the Imola GP, it was the German's race IQ that brought some more in a rather uncompetitive car.

As Ricciardo's replacement, Vettel ticks all the boxes. He's one of the more popular drivers in F1, he's a former world champion who brings with him a wealth of experience, and to add to that, at 34 years old, he's still got some tread left on him. He could be the perfect foil for Lando Norris to learn and grow as a driver as well. Moreover, McLaren has shown much better prospects compared to Aston Martin and that is something that would motivate the German as well. All in all, it has the potential to be a very strong marriage between the Woking-based squad and Vettel.

#2 Colton Herta

Colton Herta is an IndyCar sensation who has made a lot of headlines in the past year. Most of it is due to his exploits in the series but also due to the kind of speed Herta has shown on the IndyCar circuit.

McLaren's interest in the American was substantiated when Herta was signed by the team as a development driver in March 2022. Being one of America's brightest upcoming talents, he has caught the eye of Zak Brown, who has been very vocal about the sport penetrating the American market.

With Michael Andretti also speaking very highly of Herta, there is a lot of buzz around the American driver. It does however remain to be seen if McLaren will take a punt on him as Daniel Ricciardo's replacement, especially since he is still an unproven entity for F1.

#1 Pierre Gasly

With Sergio Perez signed up for the long-term by Red Bull, the door to the senior team is as good as shut for the young French driver. Pierre Gasly could not do much with the opportunity he had at Red Bull in 2019 (when he was dumped back at Toro Rosso within half a season) but ever since, his performances at AlphaTauri have been a revelation.

He is rated very highly by everyone on the grid. The driver has scored podiums every season since he was demoted to AlphaTauri and has consistently outperformed his teammate. For McLaren, Gasly is a young charger who could have the capability to match Lando Norris blow for blow and push the team forward, something Daniel Ricciardo has been unable to do in his stint at McLaren. There is a slight concern with Gasly having a two-year contract with AlphaTauri, but Red Bull has been lenient to its drivers who want to leave the team.

They did it with Carlos Sainz once the Spaniard realized he wasn't getting the promotion to the senior team. They can do it with Gasly as well, especially since it is quite evident that Red Bull is not going to promote the French driver to the senior team.

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Edited by Anurag C