The door remains open for Ricciardo’s return to McLaren F1; will Australian Daniel Ricciardo (now a Red Bull reserve driver) return to McLaren F1 in the near future? CEO Zak Brown is not ruling out the idea and says the door remains open for him in an astonishing statement.
McLaren boss Zak Brown has said he would “love” to see Daniel Ricciardo – who was sacked a year before the end of his contract – return to race for his team in the future.
McLaren announced in August that it would terminate Daniel Ricciardo’s contract at the end of the 2022 season a year early, partly because the Australian driver had failed to meet the team’s expectations in his first two years at Woking.
By suddenly finding himself on the driver’s market, Daniel Ricciardo did not have many options to be back on the grid in 2023 and therefore made the choice to return to Red Bull (which he had left at the end of 2018) to take up a reserve driver position this year while keeping the hope of being able to return to the grid in 2024.
The ‘big mystery’
For his part, McLaren’s CEO stressed how Ricciardo’s lack of performance was a “big mystery” but did not rule out the idea of the Australian returning to race for McLaren one day.
“He has the talent. He showed us that at Monza  and he’s won eight Grands Prix [since the start of his career],” said Zak Brown.
“It’s frustrating for all of us, and I really hope to see him back on the grid in Formula One. That’s his desire, and the door is open for him to be in a McLaren in the future. If the stars align, I’d love to race with him again.”
In 2023, Ricciardo will be replaced by his young compatriot Oscar Piastri and, although he has left the door open for Daniel Ricciardo in the future, the McLaren CEO is not hiding his excitement at finally seeing Piastri drive as a regular alongside Lando Norris after lengthy negotiations with Alpine in 2022 (read here).
“We think Oscar is going to be a sensational driver. If you look at his career to date, he’s won a lot of championships in his first year, which always tells you that a driver is special.”
“He has a great mental approach to the sport, and now that Lando [Norris] has a lot of experience, we feel like we have a great mix of experience and youth. We’re all very excited about the potential of our driver duo with Lando and Oscar for the foreseeable future.”