New McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo has seemed to settle in rather smoothly since making the switch from Renault on the back of a positive 2020 campaign.
He signed a 3-year deal with the team and this has led to many people question the motive behind such a long-term contract.
F1 pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz feels the only reason Ricciardo agreed to sign such a deal is because it includes an exit clause.
McLaren has progressed well since the team appointed Andreas Seidl in 2017. All the signs are that the team will continue to get even better, especially since it will be powered by Mercedes this season.
“I would be staggered if there wasn’t a clause in that contract that says if Red Bull or Mercedes have a space for me, then I would go,” Kravitz said.
“Because clearly he’s in the business now of getting in a car that can challenge for a world championship.
“I don’t think anyone doubts that he would be able to put a championship campaign together if he had the right car. He just needs to wait for the chance.”
Kravitz believes that the only way this can happen is if Hamilton decides to retire from the sport or if the team finally loses patience in Valtteri Bottas.
“But, he knows something different needs to change at Mercedes for that to happen,” he said.
“And something weird like Lewis Hamilton were to retire or them deciding to move Valtteri Bottas on, George Russell is ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in the Mercedes queue.
“He might think how did that happen. But ok, that’s just the way it is at Mercedes.
“And then Red Bull had a space when they let go of Alex Albon and Sebastian Vettel had already moved to Aston Martin.
“Red Bull didn’t consider him. They must have been very miffed with how he left the team and Helmut Marko was not happy that he left them to join Renault.”
McLaren had a decent outing in Bahrain and it seems like they have got well accustomed with the new Mercedes power.
However, choose what you want to believe regarding pre-season testing. It is only during race day that we will get a clearer picture of just where McLaren stands.