Daniel Ricciardo has been a bit of an enigma over the past couple of seasons. A man who was once at the top of his game at Red Bull, who then fell down the pecking order at Renault. However, with a move to McLaren done, is this the time for his star to rise again?
Firstly, a move to McLaren will revitalize the Australians career. After being the top dog at Red Bull, Ricciardo made the very questionable decision to leave the team, and join the French team of Renault, still with the passion for taking the big wins.
His move to Renault was disappointing at best. It's not that he had lost his touch as a driver, but the car was nowhere good enough to compete with the likes of Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari, and they seemed to drift further and further back.
There were also two rule changes that played a part in Ricciardo making the move to Renault. His contract would take him to the end of the 2020 season, and 2021 would introduce rules that would level out the playing field, meaning a team like Renault could very easily become extremely competitive again, and Danny Ric would be in the driver's seat when these changes occur.
This obviously didn't work out too well for Ricciardo, as Renault struggled and showed no sign of any drastic improvement that would shoot them up to the heights of the bigger teams. He was also being out driven by much younger drivers, and was falling from the spotlight at a rapid rate.
This is why a move to a team like McLaren makes sense. One of the biggest problems that Ricciardo has had with Renault is their unreliability. Not only can't they compete with the top 3 teams, both cars don't often finish races.
Ricciardo often struggled with failed Renault power units. These failures were happening while he was still at Red Bull, and continued while at Renault, whereas McLaren has a proven, almost bulletproof power unit.
Daniel Ricciardo chance to move to a team like Mercedes, Ferrari, or even back to Red Bull has passed, but he still has the chance to move to a team that is on the rise, and a team that could very easily take advantage of the new rules and become a force on the track once again.
So why did McLaren want Danny Ric? The answers are fairly obvious. Ricciardo is a great driver, does he have the same talent as someone like Seb Vettel or Lewis Hamilton? No, as rough as that sounds, he just doesn't have the titles that would put his name up there with the greats of the sport.
What he does have is natural skill and talent that a team like McLaren can really use. 2018 saw Danny Ric take home an incredibly impressive win at Monaco, he was also in a car that was third quickest and was putting in performances that made him a title contender.
Unfortunately, unreliability scuttled his chances. But, the fact still remains that Daniel Ricciardo, in a car that was definitely not a car that should have been competing with the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes, was right up there with them, and that was all down to the Australian.
As mentioned above, the rules changes that are going to be implemented next season are going to do wonders for the teams that have reliable and solid cars, but just can't keep up with the big 3 of Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes.
McLaren is one of those teams that is looking to rise up again. With an experienced driver like Ricciardo, and young gun like Lando Norris, mix in the rule changes and all of a sudden you have a team that can seriously compete.
Daniel Ricciardo is also still relatively young. He is obviously older than some of the newer drivers, but with world champion, Lewis Hamilton being 35, and Kimi Raikkonen turning 40, with both men still going strong, Danny Ric is certainly not past his prime.
With this in mind, it shows that he is looking towards his future. This is most likely not going to be a one season stint with McLaren, and if all goes to plan, Ricciardo will most likely stay on for a few seasons, possibly even to his retirement.
Some are of the opinion that Danny Ric may have missed his chance, that the two seasons he spent at Renault may have taken him out of contention for a championship altogether. This is something that may or may not come true in the future.
What is certain, is that the Australian is going to grab on to this new opportunity with both hands, and hopefully use it as a springboard for his career. He will be able to compete at the top again, something he became incredibly good at intermittently at Renault, and throughout his Red Bull career.
For McLaren, they now have an experienced driver that knows his way around a car. A driver that offers valuable insight that can help the team, as well as his new, young team mate.
Next season could be the time we see Daniel Ricciardo pulling off his signature overtakes, putting full force into his driving, and we will hopefully see him on the podium again, where many believe he belongs.