McLaren CEO: There are 'mechanisms' to end Ricciardo's contract early

Dan Istitene - Formula 1 / Formula 1 / Getty

McLaren CEO Zak Brown recently suggested there's a chance Daniel Ricciardo won't be on the team in 2023 despite reportedly agreeing to a three-year deal with the driver before last season.

"I don't want to get into the contract (details), but there are mechanisms in which we're committed to each other, and then there's mechanisms in which we're not," Brown said, according to Jack Benyon and Scott Mitchell of The Race.

Ricciardo, 32, continues to struggle with his third constructor in five years. "The Honey Badger" has finished outside of the points in four of the six completed grand prix this year and only finished in the top 10 once - in his hometown Australian Grand Prix. He also claimed three points for finishing sixth during the Emilia Romagna sprint qualifying.

His woes continued in Monaco on Saturday, going the second-slowest to Haas' Mick Schumacher in Q2. Meanwhile, teammate Lando Norris, who sits seventh in championship points with 39 - 28 ahead of Ricciardo - wound up qualifying fifth.

"I think he showed at Monza he can win races," Brown continued, alluding to Ricciardo's 2021 Italian GP win, which included a McLaren 1-2 and DNFs from both Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. "We also need to continue to develop our race car. It's not capable of winning races, but we'd like to see him further up the grid.

"We'll just play it - I don't want to say 'one race at a time,' because we're not going to one race at a time - but we'll just see how things develop, what he wants to do."

To his credit, the affable Aussie seemed to take Brown's comments in stride when asked to confirm the contract's purported mechanisms.

"Well, it's not false. It's pretty true," Ricciardo said, according to PlanetF1. "Comments like that I don't take personal. My skin is tanned, beautiful, and also thick."

Starting from 14th for Sunday's Monaco GP, Ricciardo has won one race since making the controversial decision to leave Red Bull following the 2018 season. His best finish with Renault - now Alpine - was third, which he accomplished twice in 2020 (at Eifel and Emilia Romagna).

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McLaren CEO: There are 'mechanisms' to end Ricciardo's contract early
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