The chance to race for McLaren in another category in future remains on the table for Daniel Ricciardo, despite Zak Brown describing his lack of performance for the team as “the great mystery.”
Ricciardo was released one year before the end of his contract after a disappointing second Formula 1 season with McLaren, following on from a 2021 that fluctuated wildly but included a win in the Italian Grand Prix. Brown admits it was a difficult decision to replace the 33-year-old and has had an impact on the team but says he isn’t ruling out a return, likely in one of McLaren’s other racing categories.
“It was tough –we all love Daniel,” Brown said. “He’s such a great spirit in the garage and on the radio and in the MTC, but sometimes things don’t work out. It’s kind of the great mystery, because he definitely has the talent, he showed us that in Monza. He’s won eight grands prix — that’s not won because everyone got wiped out at Turn 1 in Monza, he took the lead and was gone.
“So it was frustrating for all of us. But the memory of Monza is to date my favorite memory of 30 years in motorsports and I’ve got to thank Daniel for that. I very much hope to see him on the grid again in Formula 1 — which is his desire — and the door remains open to him to be in some McLaren in the future if the stars aligned. I’d love to go racing with him again.”
McLaren chose to replace Ricciardo with rookie Oscar Piastri and Brown says the development and consistency of Lando Norris afforded the team the ability to put its faith in an inexperienced driver from 2023 onwards.
“We think Oscar’s going to be a sensational racing driver. If you look at his career to date, he’s won a lot of championships in his first year which always tells you a driver’s special. He’s got a great mental approach to the sport, and now that we feel that Lando has a lot of experience we feel like we have a great blend of experience and youth — our experience just also happens to have youth!
“So we sit here very excited with the potential of our driver lineup of Lando and Oscar for the foreseeable future.”