Daniel Ricciardo has taken to social media to calm raging new speculation that his McLaren seat for 2023 will be snatched by another driver.
Even before this week’s events, multiple drivers were linked to struggling Australian Ricciardo’s seat, even though it is believed his contract is watertight.
Indycar driver for the Andretti team, Colton Herta, tested a 2021 McLaren in Portugal this week, amid new rumours that Oscar Piastri, Alex Albon and world champions Sebastian Vettel and even Fernando Alonso could be eyeing the seat.
But the latest wave of speculation follows the shock 2023 signing by McLaren on Wednesday of reigning Indycar champion Alex Palou – despite the fact that Chip Ganassi also announced the 25-year-old Spaniard’s re-signing on the very same day.
Palou, who now has an unspecified spot on McLaren’s 2023 “driver roster”, said Chip Ganassi issued the press announcement “without my approval”.
Ricciardo then issued his own social media statement to play down the raging rumours.
“There have been a lot of rumours around my future in Formula 1, but I want you to hear it from me,” said the 33-year-old, who has struggled for performance at McLaren.
“I am committed to McLaren until the end of next year and am not walking away from the sport. I’m working my as off with the team to make improvements and get the car right and back to the front where it belongs.
“I still want this more than ever,” Ricciardo said.
Shortly after that, McLaren tweeted that Ricciardo was at the factory at Woking, “checking in with the team” and working in the simulator.
However, the bigger buzz was about McLaren’s mysterious sudden signing of the highly coveted Alex Palou.
“I remember when Adrian Campos came to me with bright eyes and reported that he had finally found a successor to Fernando Alonso,” former F1 driver Marc Surer told f1-insider.com.
“It was Alex Palou. I’ve been following his career closely ever since. And I have to say, he has great potential.”