McLaren Formula 1 CEO Zak Brown has said that new recruit Daniel Ricciardo had been on the team's radar for some time.
Ricciardo joined Renault ahead of the 2019 season, the Australian taking the seat of Carlos Sainz on that occasion also. Speaking on the Sky Sports F1 Vodcast, Brown revealed that the team have 'stayed close' to the driver ever since his Red Bull departure.
"We went after Daniel a couple of years ago and narrowly missed out," said Brown "So we've been a fan of Daniel's for some time.
"Obviously he went to Renault [from Red Bull] and we brought in Carlos and Lando [Norris] who have done a fantastic job.
"But as things turned out, we were out of contract with Carlos [for 2021] and he had some opportunities. We're going to miss Carlos, he's done a fantastic job but now we have a seven-time Grand Prix winner in the car and we couldn't be more excited."
The domino effect in the driver transfer market began when Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel announced that they will be parting ways at the end of the 2020 campaign.
"I've come to learn in Formula 1 don't expect anything except for the unexpected," continued Brown. "We had a sense, we started talking to Carlos in the off-season about his future with us and whether he wanted to drive for McLaren or Ferrari.
"I think these movements would have probably happened with or without COVID because we started these conversations pre-COVID."
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