Optus backs Daniel Ricciardo amid McLaren turmoil

Singtel Optus has endorsed Australian Formula 1 driver Daniel Ricciardo, renewing its commercial agreement for a further two years.

A new deal has been signed by Optus amid reports that McLaren will terminate Ricciardo’s contract a year early and replace him with young Australian driver Oscar Piastri. Ricciardo is one of F1’s most popular figures and garnered a huge following following the release of the Netflix documentary series, Drive to survive. He is one of the top 10 Australian influencers on LinkedIn.

Daniel Ricciardo will continue to work with Optus regardless of his future in F1.Credit:Getty Images

The drama surrounding Ricciardo’s current contract has not impacted his financial arrangement with Optus, which sees him act as a telecommunications brand ambassador.

“Optus believes great things can happen in times of adversity and by having the courage and commitment to say ‘yes,’” said Melissa Hopkins, Chief Marketing Officer of Optus. “We look forward to Daniel showing the global Formula 1 community exactly what made our favorite badger so great.”

The Optus logo is on Ricciardo's helmet.

The Optus logo is on Ricciardo’s helmet. Credit:AP Photo

Ricciardo first signed a business deal with Optus in 2020 as Chief Optimist, an ambassador-style role that involves marketing the Optus brand and attending internal events. Optus’ “Yes” logo also appears on Ricciardo’s Formula 1 helmet.

The telco is one of many sponsors for Ricciardo, who has also worked with carsales.com, Go Pro, Puma and Blue Coast. He was estimated to be around $50 million in 2021, with an annual salary of $15 million. But like any sports star, the lucrative deals Ricciardo has put in place are tied to his success and his time in the spotlight.

Ricciardo did not directly comment on the ongoing information about his contract in a video he filmed over the weekend about his renewed partnership. “I look forward to…spreading optimism to everyone, finding positivity in things, and moving forward together,” he said in a video.

Ricciardo has a McLaren contract for next season as part of the initial three-year deal he signed in early 2020 while still at Renault.

A substantial settlement and payment is needed for him to walk away at the end of this season.

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