Daniel Ricciardo out at McLaren F1 team after 2002 season in buyout of final year

Daniel Ricciardo of McLaren  in the paddock before  the F1
Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images
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Daniel Ricciardo is out at McLaren after the 2022 Formula One season after the team negotiated a buyout with the Australian on the final year of his contract.

Ricciardo held the option on 2023 for his seat at McLaren but his performance has been underwhelming through 35 races. Although he did score McLaren’s first Formula One victory since 2012 with a win last September at Monza, Ricciardo has been outperformed by teammate Lando Norris nearly every race weekend.

The 33-year-old Ricciardo has just one podium with McLaren and only 19 points this season. Norris has one podium this season and 76 points.

“It’s been a privilege to be a part of the McLaren Racing family for the last two seasons,” Ricciardo said in a statement on Wednesday, adding he’d been in talks about his future with McLaren for “several months” before reaching a mutual agreement to end the deal a year early.

“I’ll be announcing my own future plans in due course but regardless of what this next chapter brings, I have no regrets and am proud of the effort and work I gave McLaren, especially the win in Monza, last season,” Ricciardo added. “I’ve never been more motivated to compete and be a part of a sport that I love so much and look forward to what comes next.”

McLaren head Zak Brown in May acknowledged that Ricciardo’s seat was shaky and said there were “mechanisms” in which the driver and team could split ahead of the 2023 season. The mechanism turned out to be a buyout since Ricciardo held the option on next season.

Although initial reports suggested Ricciardo was seeking more than $20 million to exit the team early, it is believed McLaren paid $15 million to end the contract.

McLaren is widely believed to have signed F2 champion Oscar Piastri, also an Australian, for Ricciardo’s seat. No announcement has been made by McLaren, but Piastri has declined a promotion to F1 with Alpine.

The Ricciardo move also could have implications in IndyCar, where McLaren has signed Alex Palou (who is in a contract dispute with Chip Ganassi Racing) to a deal that includes F1 testing (and possibly a future ride). Arrow McLaren SP driver Felix Rosenqvist also is awaiting clarity on his future and wants to continue driving for McLaren in the NTT IndyCar Series (depending on how the rides shake out).

“Daniel has been a great addition to McLaren, and it’s been a pleasure working with him,” said Brown. “It’s no secret that we hoped we could achieve more together but seeing him stand on the top step of the podium as a McLaren driver was a highlight.”

Following the Monza victory, Brown and Ricciardo visited a tattoo parlor in Texas so that Brown could commemorate the win with a permanent inking of the Monza circuit on his arm. He also rewarded Ricciardo by allowing him to drive the late Dale Earnhardt’s iconic No. 3 Chevrolet stock car in a demonstration at Circuit of the Americas. Brown owns the car and Ricciardo idolized Earnhardt as a child.

McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl thanked Ricciardo for his “dedication and contribution” since joining the team.

“Despite the shared challenges, he has always turned up with a fighting spirit and positivity and helped the entire team to always keep pushing forward,” Seidl said. “We will never forget that memorable race win in Monza which was a great boost for the whole team. We still have an important battle in the constructors’ championship ahead of us for the remainder of the season and we look forward to battle this out with Daniel and Lando.”

Norris and Ricciardo helped McLaren to a fourth-place finish in the constructors championship last season.

Ricciardo, one of the most popular drivers in F1, is in his 12th season and has eight career victories.

Supercross: Haiden Deegan debuts in 250s at Houston, Justin Cooper graduates to 450 class for Star Yamaha

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Rising star Haiden Deegan will make his Monster Energy Supercross debut in Houston, Texas with Yamaha Star Racing while the 2021 250 West champion Justin Cooper graduates to 450s.

Deegan, the son of motocross and off-road legend Brian Deegan and brother of NASCAR Truck Series driver Hailie Deegan, made two starts in the Pro Motocross outdoors season last year. He finished 31st overall at the Ironman Nationals in Crawfordsville, Indiana and was 13th at Fox Raceway in the season-ender at Fox Raceway in Pala, California, but the overall results did not necessarily reflect how well he ran. In both events, he challenged for top-10s during portions of the week and actually finished 10th in one of the Pala motos.

Last week, Haiden finished fifth in the Supercross 250 Futures in Anaheim 2.

“We’re really excited to get the season on the East Coast started,” said Monster Energy Team Manager Jensen Hendler in a press release. “It’s also exciting to have Haiden move up to join our pro program this season and to have Justin make his debut on the 450. The guys have been working hard and are looking forward to seeing what they can do this weekend in Houston.”

After scoring a 250SX Futures podium, Talon Hawkins gets 250 East ride.

Deegan will join Nate Thrasher and Jordon Smith in the 250 East division this week.

Cooper moves into the 450 class this weekend. According to Supercross rules, after winning the 2021 championship, he had one season to defend his title and then would be required to move up a class. Cooper missed all of last year to injury.

Cooper was healthy when the outdoor season started and he earned five podiums and nine top-fives in 12 rounds. Three of these races ended in runners-up finishes, at Hangtown, in Rancho Cordova, California, Washougal, Washington and Unadilla, New York.

Cooper joins Eli Tomac and Dylan Ferrandis in the 450 class and will race select events.

Justin Cooper learned to temper aggression with speed

Cooper’s Houston attempt will be the first of an undisclosed number of races he will compete in during the 2023 season.

“It’s been about two years since I’ve lined up for a supercross, and now it’s in a new class with the best guys, so I’m excited to just get out there,” Cooper said. “I’m looking to get back under the lights and learn what I can. Overall, I’m just really excited to be in the position to be out there, so I’m going to make the most of it and enjoy it!”

Deegan and Cooper will be part of a seven-rider Supercross lineup for Yamaha Star Racing. Nick Romano will debut in the 250 East division later this year.