McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo has openly expressed his love for the US several times. It is no secret that the Australian driver loves America. However, F1’s growing interest in the American audiences and the corporate market could lead to the downfall of Ricciardo at McLaren. Last month, McLaren’s American owner suggested that they have a plan to bring in 22-year-old American Indy racer Colton Herta.
Unfortunately, Herta could eventually replace Ricciardo at McLaren if the Australian continues to struggle during the current championship. F1 is becoming younger and more American with each new season, giving way to unexplored commercial opportunities. Herta fits the criteria perfectly, and hence, Mclaren signed the American driver to test this year with its 2021 car. Moreover, Brown revealed that McLaren has got a plan for Colton, and the team principal Andreas Seidl would communicate it when he is ready. While the deal may not be the perfect indication for McLaren to replace Ricciardo, the Australian has struggled to keep up with his younger teammate Lando Norris.
The 32-year-old hoped to revive his career with new regulations during his second year at McLaren. However, Daniel continued to struggle, and it seemed like Ricciardo was a little lost at McLaren. Unfortunately, the Australian driver has finished in the top 10 only once in 2022, with a sixth-place finish in Australia. Meanwhile, Norris has scored thrice the points as Ricciardo and out-qualified the latter in all four races. However, Daniel also had to deal with some bad luck as he suffered retirement in Saudi Arabia. And the Australian was ordered to stay behind Norris in Australia despite having a better pace.
Ricciardo Under Immense Pressure At McLaren
The possibility of losing a seat at McLaren might have led to Daniel’s out-of-character error at Imola. Ricciardo moved up to fifth place at the start. The Australian is known for his courage under braking, but he was outbraked by Carlos Sainz in wet conditions. Daniel was left struggling for entry and lost control, forcing his car wide into Sainz. Hence, Ricciardo might be feeling the heat at McLaren with each race.
Meanwhile, an American driver like Colton could result in one of the greatest commercial opportunities for McLaren. An American driver has been missing from the F1 circuit since Alexander Rossi competed in a few races in 2015. With Norris having a better time on track than Daniel, it might be the Australian who ends up getting sacked. Lando got into a new fresh deal with McLaren, which will take him through the end of 2025. The 22-year-old is a more sensible long-term investment for McLaren as Norris has secured five podiums in the last two years.
Herta Opens Up About His Chances To Replace Ricciardo At McLaren
Colton Herta is a six-time winner in IndyCar. Last year, he was on the verge of racing for Alfa Romeo(Sauber) before the deal with Micheal Andretti fell through. Herta told Indianapolis star that people thought he had a 50-60% chance of racing for Sauber. However, the 22-year-old thought that it was a lot closer than that. Colton also revealed that he was supposed to test in a Ferrari at the Fiorano Circuit after being faster than Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi during the simulations at Alfa Romeo. However, the deal did not go through, and McLaren pounced on the opportunity to recruit Colton for the team’s testing program in 2022.
Recently Herta revealed that if Daniel continues to build, he probably won’t have the opportunity at McLaren. However, the American hoped that Lando would take a formidable lead so he could at least have a shot. Moreover, Colton clarified he would never wish down on someone. He is not praying for Ricciardo’s downfall either. Herta added that if Daniel does well, it would mean that the Australian deserves the seat at McLaren. However, a part of Colton hopes that he gets an opportunity to at least put a little foot in the door and show what he is capable of.
Fortunately, there are still 18 races left in the season, providing Daniel a fair amount of opportunities to prove his worth. Ricciardo proved at the Italian Grand Prix last year that he has the experience and the pace to get ahead during his best days. However, Ricciardo will need some consistency to make a strong case for himself if Herta continues to impress during the testing.