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McLaren chief opens up on Ricciardo sacking decision

McLaren chief opens up on Ricciardo sacking decision

F1 News

McLaren chief opens up on Ricciardo sacking decision

McLaren chief opens up on Ricciardo sacking decision

McLaren CEO Zak Brown has openly admitted that parting ways with Daniel Ricciardo was a difficult decision, despite reports of criticism.

Ricciardo left McLaren at the end of the 2022 Formula 1 season, having been notified that his contract would be terminated one year ahead of schedule to accommodate fellow Australian driver Oscar Piastri.

This left Ricciardo without a seat for the 2023 season, leading him to re-join Red Bull as a reserve driver. However, he made a return to the grid in July 2023, stepping in to replace Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri.

Ricciardo has recently voiced his disappointment about being let go by McLaren, along with the accompanying criticism. However, Brown has emphasised that the decision was far from easy.

“Breaking up with Daniel was very difficult. You know, love Daniel. Great guy,” said Brown to the Track Limits Podcast. “It just didn’t work out, but that wasn’t the master plan in the end, so that was a very difficult situation.

“Especially, something like that is very public and then everyone has their opinions, and 99% of them don’t actually know what’s going on behind the scenes.

“So, to get accused of certain behaviour…where they’re just not informed, and that’s the nature of the beast when you’re in the spotlight. Everyone has an opinion, but they don’t have the facts, so that was very difficult.”

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Zak Brown has claimed it was 'difficult' to get rid of Daniel Ricciardo
Daniel Ricciardo re-joined AlphaTauri in July 2023

McLaren future

Brown also discussed the current McLaren lineup, highlighting the shift from pairing Lando Norris with Ricciardo to the new partnership with Piastri.

Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri

“I don’t think necessarily that [Piastri] brings something different but Lando hadn’t been challenged by his team-mate the last couple of years on a regular basis,” Brown added.

“On a side note, great to see Daniel doing so well at AlphaTauri because he’s a great, great guy, won me my first race.”

Brown also mentioned that Piastri is now keeping Norris on his toes following his sprint race victory at the Qatar Grand Prix weekend, especially considering Norris currently has no win in F1.

“But I think Oscar is keeping Lando on his toes,” said Brown. “I think the benefit is they like a very similar race car, so we’re getting consistent feedback from the two.

“Last thing you want to do is have two drivers that one says they have understeer, the other says they have oversteer and then kind of what do you do?

“So, I think we’re benefiting from having two very fast drivers that are very technical and we do have an experienced and a rookie, it’s just that our experienced guy happens to be pretty young.”

READ MORE: Wolff speaks out on QUITTING F1 over rival domination

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