Decision to drop Ricciardo early “a sad day” for McLaren – Brown

2023 F1 season

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McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said it was “a sad day” for the team when it announced Daniel Ricciardo will leave them at the end of the year, less than 12 months after he won for McLaren at Monza.

Ricciardo’s victory in the Italian Grand Prix, pursued closely by Lando Norris, was the team’s first win in nine seasons. However Ricciardo has largely lagged behind his team mate in their year-and-a-half together, and McLaren announced today he will not see out the final year of his contract in 2023.

Brown said Ricciardo had been well aware that the team had concerns over his form in the months leading up to the decision.

“We’re always in constant communication with our drivers on good days and on bad days. So our drivers always know where they where stand and whether we’re having good weekends or bad weekends.

“I would say we’ve been very open and transparent with Daniel throughout his entire time here at McLaren, no different than what we do with Lando or previously with Fernando [Alonso], et cetera.

“I think he understands and accepts that we weren’t able to put together the results that we’d hoped for. He’s been around motor racing his entire life so he understands this and is as disappointed as we are that it didn’t work out. But it’s all been very amicable, he gets it and we hope he lands in a good race car next year and we see Daniel back to the form that we know he’s very capable of.”

Ricciardo signed for the team in early 2020 on a three-year deal. Brown said the decision to cut that short was a disappointing turn of events.

“We’ve had many laughs, we’ve sprayed champagne together, and it’s very personal. So today is a sad day that things didn’t work out as we hoped they would. I’m going to look back with some very fond memories, some fun times together on and off the track.

“We’re in a business where Andreas [Seidl, team principal] and everyone here at McLaren, we need to focus on ultimate performance, and we hope and wish Daniel the best. There’s absolutely no ill will between us, it’s all very amicable.

“I think he too has had a good time at McLaren. And he’s young, so we hope to see him in a competitive racing car and one of these days we might see him being a pain for us on the racetrack and that’ll be fun because he’s a great competitor.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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21 comments on “Decision to drop Ricciardo early “a sad day” for McLaren – Brown”

  1. If I’m correct there are 3 drivers who have joined Mclaren as a race winner but haven’t been able to win in the woking outfit. Alonso, Mansell, Rosberg. Ricciardo could be on this list without that lucky win in Monza

    1. Alonso won races for McLaren in 2007. But yes, he didn’t win in his second stint with the team.

    2. That list gets a bit fuzzy in the 1970s with guys like Jacky Ickx, John Surtees, Dan Gurney, and Jo Bonnier who drove a McLaren car after having previously won an F1 championship Grand Prix, but to which degree they would be seen as joining the team is perhaps debatable.

    3. How is monza lucky? Far from me to defend underperformance, but monza 2021 was absolutely on merit as I see it, he was leading even before verstappen and hamilton crashed and came out ahead after they all stopped the first time and verstappen didn’t seem able to overtake him.

      1. Agree. That race weekend, Ricciardo won it on merit. Sure he was helped by the Max-Lewis crash, but he had put himself in the lead on pure merit. He did give them their biggest highlight of the last decade.

  2. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
    24th August 2022, 20:34

    If the speculation is correct I can also think of 20 million reasons as well.

    1. whatever they agreed upon was fair. Ricciardo had a contract and there must be a priced paid for early terminations. Simple as that. I think it’s all for the best. It will be very exciting to see Piastri in a Mclaren. As for Ricciardo, I am certain he will look much better wherever he ends up.

  3. At some point, someone’s going to notice that a lot of people go to McLaren and don’t do very well. Riccardo, Perez, Magnusson, Vandoorne, Kovalinen and several others including Raikonnen and Alonso. In fact, they seem to let down a lot of their drivers…

    1. Räikonnen and Alonso did very well at McLaren, and together they fought for titles in 2003, 2005 and 2007. Alonso, sarcastic tendencies aside, also put in quite a number of very solid runs in those Honda years. He completely overshadowed Vandoorne, and pretty much ended his F1 career.

      The others are solid, good drivers but probably won’t make it into the same tier as the likes of Alonso, Verstappen, Vettel, Hamilton etc. So their troubles at McLaren are partly due to a less adaptable skill set. Doesn’t mean they aren’t still very accomplished, after all, in F1 the difference between a great and good lap time is pretty much imperceptible without digital clocks that can determine it down to a thousands of a second. But still, that’s the game they’re playing.

      1. My point was, McLaren have let them all down.

        1. The Crass Yank at the helm hasn’t helped either.

    2. Totally agree. McLaren is the problem. I refuse to believe that Riccardo just forgot how to drive an F1 car.

      1. If I recall ricciardo performed pretty well every year except the mclaren years, I think he struggled a little early on with renault but then solved the issues.

        1. Ricciardo was able to experiment at Renault, it was very public that his setup experimentation left to his success in his second year at Renault.

          McLaren very clearly denied him any freedom with setup and said if Lando can make it work, you can too.

      2. Well said….Exactly my thoughts.

  4. I was so looking forward to Danny and Lando but right now Ricciardo is costing MCL money in the constructors championship.

    1. And also with the contract buyout!

  5. McLaren have now sacked their only winning driver from the last decade.

    I can see why Zac is sad

  6. This is too bad. Hope for the best for Danny next season.

  7. Having an in form Ricciardo was a lot of fun to watch. It’s just sad that he couldn’t make it work here. I honestly hope he gets a shot at redemption.. even if it is with a team further down the grid.

  8. Lando was just too much a force for Daniel and that’s it really.

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