...and no, I'm not talking about anyone's aversion to the gym!
With it now looking increasingly certain that Daniel Ricciardo will depart McLaren at the end of this season in favour of Oscar Piastri, it's a clear example of a big name driver leaving a team where he was widely expected to succeed at the time he joined.
When he left Renault at the end of 2020, Ricciardo was arguably at the height of his powers, and considered one of the best drivers on the grid. McLaren had improved massively over previous seasons too. But after a year and a half of struggle later, Ricciardo's options to remain in F1 look fairly limited, and he may end up out of the sport entirely.
I was curious to hear what other examples of this type of situation the forum can remember. A driver (or rider, let's open it up to other series than just F1 too!) who had a strong reputation the time they joined a team, and failing through a combination of factors - under-performing, tensions within the team, struggling to adapt to a new car and being made to look second rate by a team mate, lost motivation, etc.
I suppose a couple that stand out to me come from two-wheeled racing, rather than F1.
- Valentino Rossi's disastrous stint at Ducati in 2011-2012. Rossi on a Ducati? It should have been a match made in heaven, surely? Except apart from a couple of podiums, it really wasn't, and Rossi rejoined Yamaha after just two seasons in red.
- Similarly, Jorge Lorenzo at Ducati (noticing a trend yet?) - struggling massively initially, before then leaving just as he was starting to adapt, only to join Honda where he struggled even more!
Interested to hear your thoughts on this.