McLaren has “tried everything” with Ricciardo says Brown, admitting the failures with the Australian that led to the F1 drivers sacking. The CEO of McLaren, Zak Brown, returned a little more detail on the circumstances that led the British team to separate from Daniel Ricciardo at the end of this season 2022 after two years of collaboration.
At the end of the 2022 campaign, Daniel Ricciardo will leave the McLaren team and will be replaced next year by his compatriot Oscar Piastri. Ricciardo paid dearly for his lack of performance during his time in Woking, although the McLaren driver did manage to score a victory last year at the Italian Grand Prix, helped by the fact that the two title contenders eliminated each other by retiring following contact.
Apart from this victory at Monza in 2021, Daniel Ricciardo clearly did not meet McLaren’s expectations and it is for this reason alone that the team decided to part ways with the Australian at the end of this 2022 campaign, one year before the end of his contract.
“We’re in it for the results and the results weren’t coming…”
Zak Brown returned in detail to the reasons for the failure of this partnership, the American saying that he hated more than anything the situation in which the two parties were confronted in recent months.
“At the end of the day, we didn’t get the results we needed and it’s been a year and a half. We’ve all put in a lot of effort, we love Daniel, he’s great to work with and it continues to be great,” Brown explained to Kayo Sports.
“But we’re in it for the results and the results weren’t coming and we felt like we tried everything,
“We don’t really know why it didn’t click and it’s kind of nobody’s fault. We did our best, he did his best and we were still missing things to try.”
The McLaren CEO also added that he conceded that the 2022 single-seater was probably not as fast as hoped but that, “Sometimes athletes have crises and need to change their environment.”
Asked if he was disappointed not to see Ricciardo thrive at McLaren over the two years, the American said, “I hated it.”
“I tried to get Daniel before he went to Renault, so there were years of preparation. I’m a big Daniel fan, I’m still a big Daniel fan and that will never change.”
“I asked him if he wanted to drive for us in Indycar or Formula E….I’d like to keep Daniel in the family, but he’s still very focused on Formula 1, which I understand is the pinnacle of motorsport.”
“It’s probably the hardest thing [to do] in my time in motorsport, it’s not enjoyable or fun. But my job with Andreas [Seidl, team principal] is to make tough decisions, and because we didn’t see any progress, we said ‘I think we need to make a change for the good of both [Ricciardo and the team],’ put him in a situation where he can be competitive in a Formula 1 car again wherever he ends up racing. But it was a huge disappointment.”
So far, Daniel Ricciard has yet to reveal his plans for the future, though the Australian has made it clear that he wants to stay in Formula 1 more than anything else, even though there are officially only two slots still available: at Haas and Williams.
Ricciardo explains why he got beat
“If I’m going to give you a short answer, I’ll put it down to two things,” said Ricciardo during an interview with The Race.
“One, I’ll never take credit away from him – the kid’s good. There’s no denying that. And if I say he’s not, I’m just being a bitter, sore loser.
“The kid’s good. That’s obviously one element – he can steer.
“The second is, ignorance is bliss. And I’m not saying he’s got no knowledge of race cars, not at all. I think he’s quite actually in tune with what he does, from a technical point of view.
“But it’s the only F1 car he’s driven. Obviously, there have been variations of the McLaren. But he hasn’t driven for another team. So in a way he has got, I’m sure, used to some of the elements of this car.
“There’s probably a bit of that, where I’ve obviously got some – I hate this word, but I’ve just got to use it for a lack of better words right now – expectation of maybe what a Formula 1 car can do or should do or where some potential lies.
“He does now, because he watches onboards, and he sees what other drivers can do – ‘yeah, I wish we could do that, the rear doesn’t do what I want’.
“But ultimately, he hasn’t been behind the wheel of another car. So obviously, he’s good. And there’s an element of ‘ignorance is bliss’.”