10 instances F1 drivers did not see out their contracts

Daniel Ricciardo has a McLaren Formulation 1 contract for 2023, however that hasn’t stopped his future being an enormous matter of driver market dialog in current weeks.

That was initially triggered by his persevering with battle on the crew he joined final 12 months, after which inspired by first Ricciardo himself inadvertently intimating that contract talks had been required after which crew boss Zak Brown revealing that “mechanisms” exist for a break up. The Race understands that is an possibility on Ricciardo’s facet to go away.

Ought to there certainly be a change at McLaren for 2023, it could be removed from the primary time in F1 historical past {that a} driver hasn’t seen out their contract with a crew.

We’ve picked 10 of essentially the most notable. Some are tales of a driver deciding to go elsewhere, in others the crew has had sufficient and there’s even an instance the place a title-winning driver was paid an enormous sum of cash NOT to race.


Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Sakhir Grand Prix Race Day Sakhir, Bahrain

Sergio Perez had a contract with Racing Level for 2021, so in concept ought to have been on board for its first season as Aston Martin – persevering with a relationship that had begun means again within the Pressure India days in 2014.

However from early within the delayed 2020 season, the double-talk utilized by the crew in saying its drivers had contracts however declining to truly verify their locations for the next season made it clear one thing was up.

“It’s the foolish season already, which I simply can’t fathom as a result of we’ve solely completed two races and we’re already speaking about driver modifications – however we’re proud of the 2 that now we have they usually’re contracted,” stated then crew principal Otmar Szafnauer in Austria that July, in one in all many such non-denial-denials that summer season.

“What they should do is do the very best they will. They’re contracted, and watch this house, we’ll see the place we go.

“However our intention isn’t to not honour our contracts.”

Rumours swirled that Racing Level was concentrating on Sebastian Vettel, whose contract Ferrari had determined to not renew. With Lance Stroll, son of crew proprietor Lawrence Stroll, locked in, it was all the time more likely to be Perez who paid the worth – and he duly did, regardless of having a really sturdy season.

When he claimed the primary victory for the crew beneath Stroll’s possession, and his personal first in F1, within the Sakhir Grand Prix, he was nonetheless and not using a drive for 2021.

Although there had been different midfield choices, Perez was holding out for a Purple Bull drive, with Alex Albon’s place there unsure.

And when Purple Bull determined Albon wasn’t what it wanted for 2021, Perez landed on his ft by signing a deal to affix one in all F1’s largest groups simply earlier than it returned to title rivalry. He’ll get a minimum of 4 years there too, having just lately prolonged his Purple Bull contract by 2024 in a deal introduced simply after his shock Monaco Grand Prix win.


Ayrton Senna Story

When Ayrton Senna signed his first F1 cope with Toleman, it coated 1984 by to 1986.

However his sensational rookie season inevitably attracted greater groups’ curiosity. Toleman had received him on the rostrum, however was nonetheless largely unproven in F1.

He duly agreed to go away for Lotus to interchange Nigel Mansell. Although Lotus had fallen a great distance from its championship-winning peak and hadn’t gained a race since 1982, it was a extra constant frontrunner.

It was a controversial transfer that led to Senna being benched by Toleman for the Italian Grand Prix, however the future three-time champion was totally inside his rights. His deal contained a £100,000 buyout clause – over 1 / 4 of 1,000,000 in immediately’s cash – that Lotus triggered.

What angered Toleman was that Lotus introduced Senna was becoming a member of for 1985 earlier than formally activating that buyout clause. That’s what led to him being suspended.

Senna returned to see out the season, ending third in his last race for Toleman at Estoril earlier than heading off to Lotus, the place he famously took his first F1 win in his second begin for the crew – again at Estoril in a soaking 1985 Portuguese GP.


Motor Racing Formula One Testing Test One Day 3 Barcelona, Spain

Nikita Mazepin was making ready for his second season in F1 with Haas in February 2022 when Russia invaded Ukraine through the first pre-season take a look at at Barcelona.

Though Mazepin noticed out the take a look at, it was clear that his future with the crew was in jeopardy when Haas eliminated the branding of title sponsor Uralkali – owned by Mazepin’s Russian oligarch father Dmitry – earlier than the take a look at was over.

By the point F1 reconvened for the second take a look at, Mazepin and Uralkali had gone for good with Haas terminating each the sponsorship deal and the driving force contract.

Whereas Mazepin complained concerning the lack of communication from the crew over the choice and what he referred to as “cancel tradition”, Haas re-signed Kevin Magnussen – who then bagged fifth place within the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.


Portuguese Grand Prix Estoril (por) 19 21 4 1985

Andrea de Cesaris escaped some of the spectacular F1 crashes of the Nineteen Eighties within the 1985 Austrian Grand Prix when his Ligier was pitched right into a sequence of rolls after going off on the Osterreichring.

However he couldn’t escape the wrath of crew boss Man Ligier, who determined he might not afford the accident-damage payments racked up by De Cesaris. This crash proved to be the tipping level and he determined that weekend to sack De Cesaris, whose fame for accidents dogged him all through his lengthy F1 profession.

“De Cesaris is costing us an excessive amount of cash,” Ligier declared.

“I’ve informed him time and time once more that we wish a relaxed driver, one who can management his impulses.

“Andrea is a very nice man, however we merely can not afford him.”

De Cesaris had a keep of execution as a result of the Dutch Grand Prix adopted a weekend later – holding out of bother there earlier than retiring with a turbo failure. However that was it.

De Cesaris felt his sacking was unfair and complained that it was his first mistake of the season. That was maybe a stretch, however he additionally pointed to monetary concerns, saying “laborious instances are a part of F1 – Ligier desires cash”.

He may need had some extent, particularly given he was backed by Marlboro with the crew supported by Gitanes – which additionally backed his alternative, Philippe Streiff.

De Cesaris reappeared with Minardi the next season, and stayed in F1 till 1994.



When Ralf Schumacher received his large break in F1 with Jordan in 1997, it was the primary season of a three-year deal.

He made a promising begin, ending on the rostrum in his third F1 race in Argentina – albeit after a collision with team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella that price Jordan a shot at victory.

However the crew’s unhealthy begin to 1998, failing to attain some extent within the first eight races, meant Schumacher was searching for pastures new.

He’d already had contact with Williams after ending the Jordan factors drought with sixth place at Silverstone. However he wanted a little bit assist from brother Michael to make the transfer.

Ralf was sad with crew orders being issued by Eddie Jordan at Spa that meant he needed to maintain station behind team-mate Damon Hill to make sure the crew closed out its first victory with a 1-2.

Michael was equally sad about this and, after paying Eddie Jordan a go to following the race to precise his dissatisfaction, he took an energetic function in serving to Ralf discover a means out.

Subsequently, Ralf’s administration issued a press launch stating he could be leaving the crew and a excessive court docket listening to was scheduled.

However this didn’t happen with a launch clause in Ralf’s contract – subsequently claimed by Eddie Jordan to be price $2million – paid by Michael to facilitate his brother’s transfer to Williams.

Jordan slotted in ex-Williams driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen to interchange Schumacher, and had a shock long-shot title tilt in 1999. Extra on him in much less joyful circumstances shortly.


San Marino Grand Prix Imola (ita) 29 01 05 1983

Alain Prost’s sacking by Ferrari in 1991 is without doubt one of the most well-known examples of a contract not being seen out in F1 historical past, and was the topic of not simply the very first episode of our Carry Again V10s basic F1 podcast sequence however the first two.

The circumstances of his departure from Renault eight years earlier are, if something, much more outstanding – and that’s what we’re specializing in on this listing.

Prost had been contracted to McLaren for 1981 when he made the swap to Renault. However he reversed the transfer when he returned to McLaren in 1984.

Prost’s relationship with Renault had grow to be more and more fractious, with either side sad with feedback made to the media and issues behind the scenes making for an uneasy partnership of crew and driver.

By the point Prost had narrowly misplaced out on the 1983 world championship to Brabham’s Nelson Piquet, it was clear he and Renault had been going separate methods.

Nevertheless it was very a lot to Prost and McLaren’s benefit given Renault truly ended up paying his wage for 1984 – as Ron Dennis revealed a number of years in the past.

“Renault didn’t play it very properly as a result of they ended up with the contractual obligations nonetheless intact,” stated Dennis.

“The wonderful factor within the negotiation – and, after all, I can say this now – is that Renault paid Alain’s retainer in 1984.

“It was fairly an fascinating negotiation as you may think about.”

Prost went on to win three world championships for McLaren, having fallen half some extent in need of doing so on the first try in 1984, whereas Renault’s unique F1 works crew was closed down on the finish of 1985 having by no means gained one other race.


Formel 1 Grand Prix Von England

When Heinz-Harald Frentzen had a run on the world championship in 1999 after becoming a member of Jordan, few would have foreseen this partnership coming to a sudden finish 11 races into 2001.

Having taken up an possibility in his contract for the 2002 season, Frentzen was notified of his sacking by fax earlier than his house grand prix in Germany.

Jordan cited his disappointing performances as one of many causes, including “we had an change of views following the British Grand Prix and that is the result”.

Frentzen stated that he contested the reasoning, which led to authorized motion with a settlement ultimately being reached on the finish of the next 12 months.

Jordan later admitted that whereas Frentzen’s performances had been under par, he didn’t wish to sack him. Nevertheless it was all a part of securing Honda engines for 2002, which required signing Takuma Sato.

“Honda had been determined for a Japanese driver. Agreeing to take Taku put me of their good books,” Jordan ultimately revealed.

“I had been tipped off that it could assist safe the engine if I did that.

“It was very harsh on Frentzen and never one thing I needed to do however it was in the very best pursuits of the crew.”

Frentzen solely missed one race earlier than returning with Prost and raced on in F1 till the top of 2003 by way of stints at Arrows and Sauber.


Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Singapore Grand Prix Qualifying Day Singapore, Singapore

When Fernando Alonso joined Ferrari in 2010, it appeared a match made in heaven. And for some time it was, with Alonso coming near profitable the world championship in each 2010 and, miraculously, in 2012.

However by 2014, relations between crew and driver had been getting shaky because of Ferrari’s poor begin to the V6 turbo hybrid period.

Alonso was nonetheless beneath contract till 2016 and initially was discussing the opportunity of a brand new, longer deal that will doubtlessly preserve him at Ferrari till 2019.

Nonetheless, the connection between Alonso and Ferrari – notably with new crew principal Marco Mattiacci – was deteriorating. Quickly, the potential prolonged deal was off the desk.

With Ferrari chasing Sebastian Vettel and Alonso being courted by McLaren to rejoin it for its hoped-for new golden period with Honda engines, the state of affairs ultimately got here to a head. In any case, Mattiacci wasn’t joyful to listen to Ferrari’s star driver was wanting round – even whereas the crew was evaluating alternate options itself.

Ferrari already had an settlement in precept with Vettel, however that was topic to sure efficiency standards not being met by Purple Bull. In a fractious showdown with Mattiacci, Alonso, who had been leaning in direction of sticking it out with Ferrari, agreed to stroll away.

Alonso made his ill-fated transfer to McLaren, whereas Vettel gained thrice in 2015 as Ferrari started its restoration from a dismal begin to the hybrid period.


Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Practice Day Abu Dhabi, Uae

Valtteri Bottas was wanting ahead to a fifth season with Williams in 2017 when F1 world champion Nico Rosberg dropped the bombshell that he was retiring and left Mercedes and not using a driver.

Bottas had constructed a very good F1 fame together with his performances for Williams. That, mixed with the actual fact Mercedes crew principal Toto Wolff was concerned together with his administration, made Bottas an apparent selection to interchange Rosberg.

The difficulty is, Williams had Bottas beneath contract and wasn’t going to provide him up with out compensation.

Ultimately, a deal for within the neighborhood of £10million was agreed – a fee that was largely liable for Williams’s revenue margin for 2016.

Bottas went on to race for Mercedes for 5 seasons, whereas Felipe Massa got here out of his very shortlived first F1 retirement (wherein he didn’t truly miss any races) to interchange his outdated team-mate at Williams.


Formula 1 Grand Prix, Brazil, Saturday Practice

Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari profession began properly, profitable on his first begin for the crew in Australia 2007 and occurring to win the world championship that 12 months.

However together with his performances dropping off in 2008 and ‘09, Ferrari’s sights had been set firmly on Fernando Alonso.

Raikkonen had a deal in place for 2010 because of an possibility that was triggered because of assembly efficiency standards.

However with Spanish sponsor Santander approaching board and Alonso marking time at Renault, the choice was made to pay Raikkonen NOT to race in 2010 to make room for Alonso.

Raikkonen was paid within the neighborhood of $25million for 2010 – though he would have been paid a lesser quantity had his talks with McLaren resulted in him staying in F1.

As a substitute, he turned his consideration to rallying for 2 years earlier than returning with Lotus in 2012.

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