Zak Brown called the decision to fire Ricciardo the most difficult in his life
The head of McLaren revealed the details of how the team came to the idea of early abandoning the services of Daniel Ricciardo
Daniel Ricciardo joined McLaren before the start of the 2021 season. The beginning of the Australian's performances in the team was not the easiest, but the victory in Monza more than compensated for all possible claims.
However, the change of regulations in F1 led to the fact that Ricciardo lost his competitiveness even more – before the summer break, the driver earned only 19 points, while Lando Norris collected 76 on the same car.
This led to the fact that Woking decided to prematurely terminate the contract with Daniel, which was originally calculated until the end of 2023.
A few months after the announcement of the reshuffle, the head of McLaren Racing, Zak Brown, shared in an interview with Fox Sports those details and details that were not previously known.
Zak Brown: "The root cause [of Ricciardo's dismissal] was that we didn't get the results we expected. – For a year and a half we tried our best. We love Daniel very much, it's always great to work with him.
But in our business, everything is determined by results, and there were no results. At the same time, we tried everything possible.
We have not been able to understand why he is not working. You can't blame anyone for that. We have done everything in our power. Him too. We just don't have any options left. Sometimes athletes find themselves at a dead end, and they need a change of scenery."
Brown admitted that the team expected to negotiate with Ricciardo back in 2018, but then he preferred Renault. And when it became clear that the driver was not glued to F1, McLaren offered him to compete in IndyCar and Formula E – but he refused.
Speaking about his emotions at the moment when it was necessary to dismiss the pilot, Zak admitted:
Zak Brown: "I was disgusted. After all, I tried to negotiate with Daniel before he moved to Renault. I'm an incredible fan of him. And I will always remain one.
I suggested he race in IndyCar or Formula E. I really wanted to keep him in our family, but he is completely focused on Formula 1. This is understandable, because F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport.
I really wanted to continue racing with him. And this [dismissal] is probably the most difficult thing I've ever had to go through in racing. There was no pleasure in it.
But this is my job, together with Andreas [Seidl] we have to make difficult decisions. We did not see progress, and therefore, in our own interests, we had to make changes if we expected to become competitive again. Formula 1 is primarily about racing. But all this has brought a huge disappointment."
Zak also said that Ricciardo was lying, saying that he was not aware of the team's negotiations with Piastri.
Zak Brown: "We acted transparently and informed him of everything that was going on. Yes, there were a lot of rumors in the press. But Daniel and I knew what was going on in reality. I think that's why we still have a strong relationship.
We were open with each other, although we could not always tell others about what was happening”.
It is expected that the 33-year-old Ricciardo will spend the 2023 season as a backup Mercedes driver and will try to return to the peloton a year later.