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Daniel Ricciardo has experienced immense scrutiny this season after a disappointing first seven rounds compared to his widely applauded teammate Lando Norris. 

Despite arriving at McLaren as a marquee signing, Ricciardo has failed to meet expectations at his new team, leading to questions about his future.

Estimates suggest the Australian is one of the most highly paid drivers in F1. Given his recent form, there is speculation that his position at McLaren is uncertain, or at the very least, his contract may need to be renegotiated. 

DRRR

Ricciardo has spoken about these rumours to Formula1.com, admitting that a part of him "loves" the speculation:

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"Part of me loves it. That's the truth because one thing I love about this sport... it's probably trying to get to the top of something. You're always going to be under the spotlight and there's always going to be that attention, that pressure.

And when you can execute, under those circumstances, it's one of the most powerful and rewarding feelings. So I know there is obviously chatter and, let's say, certainly some noise at the moment. 

But for me, it's like a good reason to… push back and just to remind people, but first and foremost to remind myself, that I can still do it."

Whilst Ricciardo's outlook is admirable, his on-track performances will ultimately play a far more critical role in McLaren's decision-making regarding his position within the team. 

Given the potential risk of McLaren signing an IndyCar talent to F1, it seems reasonable to suggest that the Woking team would rather keep Ricciardo, at least for the foreseeable future. 

It also seems unlikely that Ricciardo's evident ability and skill completely dissipated when signing McLaren, so the Championship-winning team will be working to help Ricciardo find his form.

However, Patricio O'ward's pace and value cannot be overlooked. With McLaren potentially eyeing an expansion of their brand into the Americas (and the role O'ward could play in this) Ricciardo must remove any doubt that he is the man for McLaren.