Daniel Ricciardo looks likely to lose his McLaren seat at the end of 2022.
In February of last year, the Australian revealed that he actually inked a three year deal for 2021, 2022 and 2023.
However, ahead of the Monaco GP the 32-year-old indicated that he intends to negotiate with McLaren about a new deal “before the summer break”.
It followed McLaren supremo Zak Brown this week admitting that Ricciardo has not met the team’s “expectations” since joining the Woking based team last year.
But when a journalist in Monaco queried Ricciardo as to why he would hold “negotiations” with McLaren when he still has a contract for 2023, he admitted his current deal is actually only for two years.
“It’s true,” he is quoted by German specialist media, before smiling: “You made me answer a question that didn’t need to be answered.
“Maybe I meant the summer of 2023.”
If Ricciardo’s contract is ending, the names of two potential replacements are already circulating, including McLaren’s 23-year-old Indycar driver Pato O’Ward.
Another is American Colton Herta, whose name has been linked with Andretti’s 2024 F1 bid.
McLaren CEO Brown, meanwhile, said McLaren is still trying to bring Ricciardo up to full speed.
“He is struggling to find the performances that he and we would like,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “We’re working hard so that he can return to normal and show us what he showed us all in Monza last year.”
When asked how long McLaren is prepared to wait for Ricciardo’s top form, Brown added: “That is a matter for Andreas Seidl.
“Lando has a long-term deal, Daniel a shorter one. I believe that we will start looking towards the future soon.”
Russian F1 commentator Match TV expects Ricciardo to be ousted.
“Lando had tonsillitis in Barcelona but he still beat Ricciardo,” said the Match TV pundit. “I don’t know if it will be Pato O’Ward next year and Herta might be an option too.
“Frankly, the option of extending with Ricciardo looks unlikely.”