Charles Leclerc is struggling to see how he and Ferrari can get back into title contention after a tough weekend at the Belgian Grand Prix.

A dominant race for Red Bull on Sunday saw the Austrian team take first and second place, with drivers' championship leader Max Verstappen topping the podium from Sergio Perez.

Ferrari's Carlos Sainz was third, while Leclerc's dwindling title hopes took another knock when he crossed the line fifth before a penalty for speeding in the pit lane nudged him down a spot.

Leclerc now sits third in the standings with 186 points, a daunting 98 points behind Verstappen. Perez sits five points ahead of Leclerc now, too, and although there are eight races remaining, defending champion Verstappen practically has another title in the bag.

In the constructors' standings, Red Bull have 475 points, well ahead of Ferrari whose haul of 357 puts them second.

Leclerc took responsibility for his excessive pit-lane pace, saying it was "my fault... it's a mistake and that's it".

Reflecting on the bigger picture and looking at what improvements Ferrari might make, with time running out, Leclerc said: "It starts to look very difficult.

"Especially with the pace they've shown this weekend, it's going to be very, very difficult. But I'll keep my head down, try to focus race by race and try to do my best."

Speaking on Sky Sports, Leclerc was asked whether he was still in championship contention.

Again, he answered: "It starts to look very difficult."

Team-mate Sainz agreed Ferrari were left in a sticky position after an arduous weekend.

"Unfortunately it was harder than expected," said the Spaniard. "We had a lot of over-heating on the tyres, we were sliding around a lot, and for some reason our package wasn't quite there this weekend, but in the end we finished on a podium and we will take it.

"The first two laps were strong, but then we went into high degradation and I realised we were degrading more than what we should. Unfortunately we couldn't put up a stronger fight and we had to survive. We will have to learn why at this track we were not so competitive."

Sainz believes there could be stronger results ahead for Ferrari at the Dutch Grand Prix, which comes next, but he does not expect Red Bull to drop off and predicted they will be strong in Italy in two weeks' time.

"Zandvoort should be a better track for us," Sainz said. "Monza should be advantage for Red Bull there, but we will try and win it in Zandvoort."

Max Verstappen hailed an "amazing" weekend after winning the Belgian Grand Prix in dominant fashion to extend his drivers' championship lead.

The Red Bull driver started from 14th on the grid after a penalty for a power unit change, but a superb drive stormed him to a second successive win at Spa-Francorchamps.

In a chaotic race that saw a safety car on just the second lap, Verstappen weaved through the field to make it a Red Bull one-two as Sergio Perez also took advantage of the quick Red Bull car.

The impressive victory means Verstappen now holds a 93-point lead over second-placed team-mate Perez in the drivers' championship standings.

And the Dutchman was delighted after the race, telling Sky Sports: "It was amazing this weekend. We were super competitive from the get-go. I knew that we could have a really good result.

"Winning from P14, even with that car, is always a bit difficult because you don't know in general what is going to happen but luckily I stayed out of trouble, even though there was a lot of stuff going on.

"I was literally just trying to avoid everything and once everything calmed down with the safety car, I was just overtaking cars every lap.

"Once I realised we were in P3, even on the soft compounds, we were very quick and I knew I had a good chance of winning the race."

When asked if this was the best he had felt so far in his Formula One career, Verstappen replied: "It's difficult to say. I'm just enjoying the moment.

"Everyone within the team knows we are having a good time but we are also very focused on what we want to achieve. At the moment we are achieving that, but we always want more."

Max Verstappen produced a scintillating drive to surge from 14th on the grid to win the Belgian Grand Prix and further extend his huge championship lead.

The reigning Formula One champion was fastest in Saturday's qualifying session but was one of several drivers to take a grid penalty for a power unit change, leading to him starting on the seventh row.

Yet, just as in the Hungarian Grand Prix before the mid-season break, when he started in 10th, Verstappen expertly worked his way through the field to prevail and claim a second successive win at Spa-Francorchamps.

The raw pace of the Red Bull allowed Verstappen to easily make his way to the front after a chaotic start and a second lap safety car, and he was never threatened after overtaking Carlos Sainz for the lead on lap 18. His team-mate Sergio Perez made it a Red Bull one-two, with the Ferraris of Sainz and Charles Leclerc sandwiched by Mercedes driver George Russell on a day that saw Verstappen's lead stretched to 96 points.

Fernando Alonso got a lightning start to put his Alpine ahead of Perez into the first corner, with the Red Bull man also overtaken by the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton.

Yet the good work of the two former McLaren team-mates was soon undone when they collided going into the Les Combes chicane, sending Hamilton airbone as he suffered damage that ended his race.

The next lap then saw the Williams of Nicholas Latifi spin into Valtteri Bottas' Alfa Romeo, prompting a safety car as the latter ended up beached in the gravel.

Sainz locked up at the bus stop chicane at the restart but was still able to stay ahead of Perez and retain the lead.

Yet he soon began losing time to the Red Bulls and had both in his mirrors by the time he pitted on lap 12, Verstappen's spectacular charge through the field rewarded with the lead as he passed Perez while Sainz was in the pit lane.

Sainz was back ahead when Verstappen pitted for medium tyres four laps later, but Ferrari's lack of pace was encapsulated as Leclerc was unable to get past Perez on warmer tyres following the Mexican's pit stop and Verstappen succeeded in breezing past Sainz for the lead.

That set the stage for a serene second half of the race for Verstappen, whose title battle with Leclerc is turning into a procession for the Dutchman.

The Belgian Grand Prix will be part of the Formula One calendar in 2023.

Speculation has persisted over the future of the event, held at the historic and much-loved Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Stavelot, as F1 continues its expansion into non-traditional markets.

There will be a third race in the United States, held in Las Vegas, on the schedule next year, while F1 bosses had been in talks about a return to South Africa.

However, those discussions have reportedly collapsed, paving the way for Spa to keep its spot.

"Formula 1 can confirm that the Belgian Grand Prix will be on the 2023 calendar following an agreement to extend our partnership together. Further details on the 2023 calendar will be announced in due course," an F1 statement read.

Speaking to Sky Sports, F1 president Stefano Domenicali said: "We have to congratulate the job [the race organisers] did. You've seen the investment they did. You see the number of people that are coming here. Incredible crowd, incredible attention to the people, and this is great for the sport.

"We always said that the race is a part of our tradition, and it has a very important space in our calendar, and this is a fact that we wanted to share in this moment."

Spa's long-term future as a fixture of the F1 season remains in question.

There have been suggestions it could become a biennial grand prix, though such a change would raise doubts over the circuit's ability to raise the finances to maintain the standards F1 requires while only racing once every two years.

The Belgian Grand Prix was first held in 1925. Since the inaugural F1 world drivers' championship in 1950, it has only been absent from the calendar on six occasions.

Repair work at Spa meant the race was not held in 2006; the last time the Belgian Grand Prix was not included on the calendar.

Sunday's race will be the 55th edition of the race to be held at Spa, with Ferrari's Carlos Sainz starting first on the grid following a raft of penalties, including for title rivals Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc.

Mercedes driver George Russell believes Max Verstappen will win Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix despite starting 15th on the grid, and doubts his own chances of a podium finish.

Defending Formula One drivers' champion Verstappen put in the fastest lap in qualifying on Saturday, but the Red Bull ace is among those who have been pushed to the back of the grid after being issued with penalties.

Verstappen, courtesy of his qualifying efforts, starts at the front of the queue of those handed engine penalties. Charles Leclerc, Esteban Ocon, Lando Norris and Zhou Guanyu line up behind him, with Mick Schumacher at the back after a gearbox penalty.

That gives Verstappen plenty to do if he is to extend his lead at the top of the championship in the first race after the mid-season break, but Russell is still expecting him to finish top of the pile.

"I think Max will probably still win the race. I don't know where he is going to be starting, but with the pace he has got he will probably still win the race," Russell said.

"And Charles [Leclerc] as well, he will probably still come through. So, I think it is unlikely that we will be on the podium tomorrow in all honesty, because we've still got Carlos [Sainz] and Checo [Perez] there and Max is going to slice through the field pretty quickly.

"We will need to look overnight, try and understand it. Qualifying is out of the way, which has been our weak point, and we'll try and be faster tomorrow."

While Verstappen is hopeful of a podium finish, his priority is to survive what is set to be a thrilling first lap at Spa with plenty of cars out of position, before eyeing a finish further up the field.

"I think with the pace we have in the car, I want to move forward, and I want to be at least on the podium," Verstappen said.

"I mean survive, of course, lap one – that's the most important. Then after that I need to pass a few cars before of course you get into a competitive position."

Ferrari's Carlos Sainz starts the race on pole ahead of Sergio Perez, with Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton on the second row while Russell and Alex Albon complete the top six.

Carlos Sainz profited from Max Verstappen's grid penalty to secure pole for the Belgian Grand Prix but admitted to being concerned by the gap between Ferrari and Red Bull.

Verstappen topped the timesheet in Saturday's delayed qualifying session at Spa-Francorchamps ahead of the first race following the mid-season break.

But the reigning champion – who holds an 80-point lead over Charles Leclerc at the top of the standings – will start in 15th after being penalised for using too many engine parts.

The Dutchman is one of seven drivers taking grid penalties, along with Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris, Esteban Ocon, Zhou Guanyu, Mick Schumacher and Valtteri Bottas.

That effectively meant the rest of field were facing off for the top 13 positions on the grid, and it was Ferrari driver Sainz who will will start Sunday's race at the head of the pack.

Whereas Verstappen looked comfortable throughout and delivered a time of 1:43.665 seconds with his first Q3 flying lap, Sainz's Q3 lap was rather scrappy.

Despite claiming pole, the Spaniard – who is fifth in the standings – was not entirely pleased with how things played out.

"I'm happy to be starting on pole, but I'm obviously not so happy to see the gap to Max this weekend and the gap Red Bull have on us," he told Sky Sports.

"We need to keep digging to see why Red Bull are so fast around this track. But to start from pole is good and we will try to win tomorrow.

"I think our race pace is better than our qualifying pace, but there is still something to find."

The past seven winners of the Belgian Grand Prix have started from the front row of the grid, six of them from pole.

But after finishing 0.632s clear of the field in qualifying, Verstappen – last year's winner on this track – is hopeful of climbing from towards the back of the pack into the top three.

"It was an amazing qualifying but the whole weekend we have been really on it," he said. "With a car like this it would be a shame to not be on the podium.

"The car has been working really well and we have basically been trying to fine tune it and it all came together in Qualifying.

"Of course, I had to be careful with the amount of tyres I was using, but I was very happy with my lap. It is an amazing track with amazing fans and I hope they had a good day."

Verstappen is set to start one place ahead of title rival Leclerc, while team-mate Sergio Perez is second after finishing 0.165s behind Sainz.

Fernando Alonso, who is on his best run since 2018 after collecting points in each of his past eight races, is third ahead of Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

Red Bull are seeking a fifth win in Belgium – only in Mexico (six) would they have more – with Perez looking to overhaul Sainz.

"P2 is not the worst place to be around here and I think if I am able to get a good run at Carlos, it will be different and I will be on the other side of the row," Perez said.

"I am looking forward to tomorrow and I think there will be a great race ahead of us. It'll be very important to get a good start and do our own race and I think that will be the key."

Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer is "confident" the ruling over Oscar Piastri's contract will fall in their favour with the dispute set to go before the Formula One contract recognition board (CRB).

Following Fernando Alonso's decision to leave Alpine, the team announced that reserve driver Piastri would replace the Spaniard for the 2023 season.

However, the Australian contradicted this claim when he released a statement on his social media platforms, stating that he would not be driving for Alpine the following year.

Piastri is understood to have committed to McLaren, who are not commenting publicly on the matter.

But speaking ahead of this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix, Szafnauer is adamant Alpine had all bases covered when securing his services.

"We will have the CRB decide which contract Oscar signed takes precedence and after that, we will see where we go," he said.

"There are certain things that need to be in the contract [to secure Piastri], and I am confident they are in there.

"Once we have all the information in front of us, we will start looking at who will fill the open seat."

However, Szafnauer did accept Alpine were hasty with their announcement, having raised eyebrows by doing so without a statement from Piastri.

"I told Oscar before the announcement was made," Szafnauer added. "He happened to be in the simulator, so I went and found him. He smiled and was thankful, so we made the release very quickly.

"Things happen very quickly. We too reacted quickly and didn't want to go back and forth with his management, which is why we put the release out."

Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc will each start from the back of the grid at the Belgian Grand Prix after receiving penalties following power unit changes.

Verstappen leads Ferrari rival Leclerc by 80 points in the Formula One drivers' championship, having won eight of the 13 races so far this season.

However, the Red Bull man, who came from 10th on the grid to win the Hungarian Grand Prix prior to the mid-season break, will have to fight his way through the field to triumph at Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday.

Verstappen won in Belgium last year in a race reduced to two laps behind the safety car because of a deluge that made racing unsafe.

The Dutchman, who was born in Belgium under two hours away from the circuit, has had all the components of his power unit replaced.

Leclerc, meanwhile, has taken on a fifth power unit of the season as well as a new gearbox.

Joining the title rivals at the back will be McLaren's Lando Norris, Alpine's Esteban Ocon, Haas driver Mick Schumacher and Valtteri Bottas of Alfa Romeo.

Norris, Ocon and Bottas have seen their teams opt to change their engines, while Schumacher is taking on a new control electronics unit.

The grid shake-up could put Mercedes in position to claim their first win of a difficult season, while Verstappen's team-mate Sergio Perez and Leclerc's fellow Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz will each fancy their chances of winning for the second time in 2022.

Alfa Romeo have announced they will end their title sponsorship with Sauber at the end of the 2023 Formula One campaign.

The Italian manufacturers returned to the F1 paddock in 2018 with a technical and commercial partnership, with an extension in 2021 including 'multi-year assessments'.

Last month, Alfa Romeo opted to remain on the grid for the 2023 season but have now announced it will be their last.

In a statement, they said: "Since the economic and industrial turnaround of the brand will be achieved in 2022, Alfa Romeo will now evaluate among the many opportunities on the table, and decide which will be the best one to sustain the long term strategy and the positioning of the brand."

Alfa Romeo's exit paves the way for Audi's introduction, with confirmation on Friday they would join in 2026 as an engine supplier – though the wider expectation is that they will bring the four rings to the paddock as a team, with reports indicating an agreement with Sauber is 75 per cent complete.

Sauber's future on the grid in the period between the end of the sponsorship with Alfa Romeo and any potential deal with Audi is unclear, however, though they have previously raced under their own name.

Prior to the start of the agreement with Alfa Romeo, Sauber raced under their own name from 2011, and have extensive history in F1 from 1993 including partnerships with BMW, Mercedes and Red Bull.

Alfa Romeo currently sit sixth in the constructors' championship with 51 points, having finished ninth with just 13 points in 2021.

Lewis Hamilton has reiterated he is not thinking about retiring from Formula One as he intends to "cause havoc" with Mercedes in the second half of the season.

Mercedes' 2022 campaign thus far has been one of disappointment, with the team struggling with porpoising and finding themselves off the pace of rivals Red Bull and Ferrari.

A turbulent season follows on from a disruptive end to the 2021 campaign, after Max Verstappen's controversial title win resulted in persistent speculation that Hamilton could walk away from F1.

Hamilton soon put that to rest by returning for the campaign to drive alongside new team-mate George Russel, but disappointing results again led to further debates about the future of the 37-year-old.

The British driver sees things differently, however, as he is still "in love" with the sport and has not considered an exit.

"There's still plenty to achieve here, personally. Maybe not that many records, but still a lot of ground to cover with the team," he said at a press conference ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix.

"I am still deeply in love with the sport. And I particularly like the direction and the things that we're doing within it. But of course there's lots more outside that's continuing to grow as well.

"So it's an exciting time. We have been improving. We have had this consistency in recent races and great progress the team is making."

Hamilton also detailed Mercedes' intentions for the second half of the season with an appearance at a race event, where he told a crowd they are looking to cause "havoc" in the second half of the campaign.

"We've had this really strong run and we hope to continue it forward. We plan to, we're going to manifest it, we're here to cause havoc in the second half of the season," he said.

Audi's entry into Formula One in 2026 has been officially announced, with the German manufacturers joining as a power unit supplier.

Owned by the VW Group, Audi's move into F1 alongside sister company Porsche has been widely reported this year but finer details were scarce.

On Friday, ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix, Audi's entry was made official from the 2026 season and they will announce who they are lining up with later this year.

Audi's entry comes after new power unit regulations were announced earlier this month, which were specifically designed to make entry to F1 possible and attractive for newcomers.

"I am delighted to welcome Audi to Formula 1, an iconic automotive brand, pioneer and technological innovator," F1 president and CEO Stefano Domenicali said.

"This is a major moment for our sport that highlights the huge strength we have as a global platform that continues to grow.

"It is also a big recognition that our move to sustainably fuelled hybrid engines in 2026 is a future solution for the automotive sector. 

"We are all looking forward to seeing the Audi logo on the grid and will be hearing further details from them on their plans in due course."

Further announcements from Audi may see them take over an existing team on the grid, with the desire for the famous four rings to become prominent in the sport, and it has been reported an agreement with Sauber, racing as Alfa Romeo, is '75 per cent' complete.

In contrast, sister company Porsche are widely expected to partner with Red Bull and are not set to introduce a branded team.

BREAKING: Audi will join Formula 1 in 2026!#F1 pic.twitter.com/fRnPvmSwU2

— Formula 1 (@F1) August 26, 2022

Daniel Ricciardo will only remain in Formula One "under the right circumstances" and would only return to the circuit with a team that will help him fight to get back on the podiums.

Ricciardo was contracted to McLaren until the end of the 2023 season, but the agreement was cut short following underwhelming results amid continuous struggles with the car.

Alfa Romeo, Haas, AlphaTauri and Williams have vacant driver spots for the next grid, though, as the Australian's future team and position remains unclear.

The 33-year-old is yet to reveal his intentions, but wants to remain competitive in whichever team he signs for, and is even considering a break if no one can offer the right seat on the grid.

"I want to get back to winning, I want to get back to fighting for podiums and wins," he told Sky Sports F1 ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix. 

"That's what gives me the most happiness. One thing that has remained unchanged for me is I've never wanted to be a driver just to be on the grid.

"Of course, I love this sport and I love everything that comes with it. But at this point in my career, it's just about winning.

"Under the right circumstances, the right opportunity, absolutely it's where I want to be, but obviously I might not have every option available."

Ricciardo has history with Alpine – the former Renault team he left in 2020 for rivals McLaren – and speculation persists as to whether he would return to his former team under their new name.

That largely depends on the ongoings between Oscar Piastri and McLaren, who are embroiled in a battle with Alpine to secure the driver's signature.

Asked if he would consider a return to his former side under a new guise, Ricciardo responded: "Yes. I don't know how else to say that. I'd say, if it's right.

"Obviously, it was tough because we made the announcement [joining McLaren] before racing had even started in that year. It was Covid and there was a lot going on.

"For sure, it was a little bit awkward for a bit, but once we were racing and had the year we had, I think everyone saw I was dedicated to make the most of that year.

"We'll see what feels right and is right, but it's purely going to be on where I feel I can be the most competitive."

While talks continues as to who Ricciardo will sign with, he admits he has received numerous offers, but will not be rushed into a decision.

"I don't want to make rash decisions, I want to get racing then see what feels right once I get the helmet back on," he added.

"I haven't signed anything. At this moment, I'm a free man so to speak."

Ricciardo also explained how he was targeting a team who were competitive immediately.

"When you understand a team a little bit more and if what you see is inspiring and motivating, you can quickly change your thought process [on a long-term project]," he continued.

"But I won't lie, I would like results quicker rather than later. But I am very open to what the future may hold, so I'm not going to sit here and shut anything down."

Formula One chief executive Stefano Domenicali hinted the Belgian Grand Prix could remain part of the sport's calendar beyond this year amid speculation the Spa race is set to be cut.

Belgium will host the first race since late July on Sunday, with Max Verstappen and Red Bull looking to consolidate strong leads at the top of the standings.

Several changes to the F1 calendar are planned ahead of the 2023 season, with the maiden Las Vegas Grand Prix set to take place alongside returns for races in China and Qatar.

The Belgian Grand Prix, which has been a fixture in the calendar for several decades, had been slated as one of the races that could make way, but Domenicali insists such a decision is yet to be taken.

"You never saw something [from] me saying that Belgium will be the last year," he said.

"I would be prudent on that comment, I would say, I would be very prudent. That's the only thing I would say. It's true that we are working and discussing with other promoters to see if they're ready for a full commitment already.

"There has been always a point that we have discussed to find the mix of the races where we're going to have at least one third in Europe, one third in the Far East area, and the other one in the Americas and Middle East. So we want to be balanced.

"Of course, we're talking about a business where investment, the financial contribution, is very important, but we have always said that the traditional races, the races that we know cannot bring the money that the others are bringing, have full respect from us.

"There is a lot of respect for these places. But if you recall, Belgium, there were some periods where it was not in the calendar, and they came back again. The memory sometimes is short. It's a great place, no doubt about it. And that's why we are discussing."

Meanwhile, Domenicali revealed talks are ongoing concerning the future of the French Grand Prix, and said a race in Germany could be set to return to the calendar. 

"We are talking with the French federation, and with the government, because more and more the future also is related to promoters that see that as investment for the country, for the community," he added.

"So the discussions are very, very open for a great future. 

"We really hope that Germany can be back around the table. But one thing is to say is we'd like to have the [German] Grand Prix. The other thing is to put on the table the things that are needed to discuss about the Grand Prix.

"So hopefully soon – with something that could happen soon – they will have a different situation to discuss with us."

Formula One's midseason break delivered drama that the title race so far perhaps had not.

The first half of the campaign had its own intriguing narratives, with Ferrari's frequent collapses and Mercedes' unprecedented struggles, but those strands only served to allow Max Verstappen to build a healthy lead at the top of the standings.

Attention has turned to those in the midfield in recent weeks, though, with Sebastian Vettel's imminent retirement prompting a series of developments that have not yet slowed.

Alpine have been at the heart of the drama, losing Fernando Alonso to Aston Martin in Vettel's place and then failing to secure Oscar Piastri as his replacement.

Piastri instead seems set for McLaren, who have announced Daniel Ricciardo will be leaving the team.

For Alpine then, there will be some relief that focus can now return to the track at the Belgian Grand Prix, with Verstappen set to resume his role at centre stage.

Qualifying key to Red Bull repeat

For those hoping to reel in Verstappen's 80-point lead, they will hope to get more opportunity to attack him than at Spa in 2021, when he started from pole and completed just two laps behind a safety car to claim victory amid a deluge at the circuit in Stavelot.

That result actually continued a recent trend in Belgium, where recovering from a poor qualifying session has proven increasingly tricky.

The past seven winners of the Belgian GP have started from the front row of the grid, with Verstappen among six of those to line up on pole.

Repeating the feat has not been quite so straightforward, however, as Verstappen will be looking to become the first driver to win this race from pole in consecutive entries since Ayrton Senna did so a remarkable four years in a row between 1988 and 1991.

Senna had five Belgian GP wins in total, behind only Michael Schumacher (six). Lewis Hamilton (four) will be bidding to join the Brazilian this weekend.

In-demand Fernando on top form

Alonso will hope his shock move to Aston Martin does not knock his final season with Alpine off course, as the Spaniard had refound form before stunning his team during the break.

The two-time world champion has earned points in each of his past eight races for his best run since another sequence of eight in 2018.

Alonso has not finished in the points in more than eight straight races since 2014, when he put together 15 in a row – the last of them being in Belgium.

But perhaps this could instead be a strong weekend for Alonso's future employers and the man he will replace.

Vettel's best qualifying performance at Aston Martin was fifth at Spa in 2021, finishing fifth on race day, too. Only in Azerbaijan last year (second) has he enjoyed a better result with the team.

McLaren have announced that Daniel Ricciardo will be leaving the team at the end of the 2022 season, freeing up a spot for Oscar Piastri.

The Australian was contracted with McLaren until the end of the 2023 season but, amid disappointing results, that agreement has been cut short and Ricciardo's final race for the team will be in Abu Dhabi later this year.

Ricciardo's frustrating spell at McLaren will be a disappointment for all parties and comes following an equally frustrating stint at Renault, where he moved after his time with Red Bull.

It remains to be seen whether Ricciardo will continue in Formula One, with the 33-year-old stating he will announce his next move in due course.

"Regardless of what this next chapter brings, I have no regrets and am proud of the effort and work I gave McLaren, especially the win in Monza, last season," he said.

"I've enjoyed working with everyone at McLaren both trackside and back in Woking [at the factory] and will be giving my all on and off track as we enjoy the remainder of the season together.

"I've never been more motivated to compete and be a part of a sport that I love so much and look forward to what comes next."

Ricciardo has been consistently outperformed by team-mate Lando Norris this season and his position was clearly under threat, with McLaren widely reported to have an agreement in place with Piastri.

The battle for Piastri has seen McLaren tussle with Alpine, who announced during the season break that he would drive for the team in 2023, though that was later denied on social media by the driver himself.

While an agreement between the teams will have to be reached, it is expected Piastri will indeed wear the orange of McLaren as he has no desire to race for Alpine, who have also lost Fernando Alonso for next season.

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