Daniel Ricciardo says everything “feels pretty right” about his switch to McLaren as he looks to achieve his ambition of becoming Formula 1 world champion.

The Australian has left Renault to sign a three-year contract with McLaren, who in turn have switched from Renault to Mercedes engines for the upcoming 2021 season.

Speaking at the team’s launch of its new MCL35M car and revised driver line-up on Monday, Ricciardo said he felt he was joining McLaren at exactly the right time after the team claimed third place in the constructors’ championship last year.

“I feel like I’m coming here with a bunch of momentum behind the team as well,” he said.

“There’s really good stability in the team, infrastructure… I think when I talked to McLaren a couple of years ago in 2018, I don’t think Andreas was there yet, James Key wasn’t, so there were still quite a few moving parts.

“Ultimately, the results weren’t quite there on track yet, but they were still trying to figure out their own structure and trying to establish that now. I’m basically just fitting into the puzzle as opposed to trying to put it all together.

“I’m certainly feeling good about it, hanging out to try the car, but it all feels pretty right at the moment.”

Ricciardo won seven races at Red Bull but opted to leave for Renault at the end of the 2018 campaign having failed to achieve his target of challenging for the world championship. Two years later, the 31-year-old finds himself making yet another move, this time to McLaren.

With the Woking squad enjoying a clear upward trajectory, and sweeping regulation changes coming into play from 2022, Ricciardo is more certain than ever that he has made the right choice for his career.

"We don't have a crystal ball," he added. "Leaving Red Bull or Renault, it is what I feel is right.

“Do I know how it will turn out? I don't. But I certainly feel McLaren have done the right things to set themselves up in particular for these rule changes coming in 2022. I think that next era of F1 has the ability to certainly turn the field around a little bit.

“Everything I’ve seen and everything I’ve known up until now certainly excites me about where McLaren is heading. So it’s really that more than anything. I really do believe in the personnel.

"I like Zak, and I do believe Andreas is a massive asset for the team. Andreas is really helping steer this ship in the right direction.

“James as well, I got to work with James in 2013 at Toro Rosso, and that was fairly short-lived, by that summer I was already going to Red Bull. So looking forward to getting to work with him again.

“They’ve got more backing as well from the end of last year, some more investment. They’re expanding, I think they’re doing what it takes to be a real contender in the championship.”

 

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