McLaren not governing Daniel Ricciardo return but insists F1 replacement Oscar Piastri is ‘special’
Oscar Piastri will make his debut for McLaren this season alongside Lando Norris after joining Alpine; Zak Brown says he would ‘love to race Daniel Ricciardo again’ but says Australian replacement is ‘special’
Last update: 12/30/22 5:17 p.m.
McLaren boss Zak Brown has said he would ‘love to race again’ with Daniel Ricciardo in the future despite his struggles in Formula 1, but admits he is excited about the line-up in 2023 and the “special” Oscar Piastri.
Last August, McLaren announced it would end Ricciardo’s three-year contract a season early and the eight-time race winner, who was upgraded and upgraded by young team-mate Lando Norris, is now back at home. Red Bull as the third driver after failing to find a suitable F1 seat elsewhere.
In a lengthy McLaren YouTube interview, McLaren CEO Brown said Ricciardo’s McLaren failure was a “big mystery” but would not rule out a return for the Aussie in the future.
Ricciardo, 33, wants to get back on the grid as soon as possible.
“He’s got the talent,” Brown said. “He showed it to us at Monza and he won eight Grands Prix.
“It’s frustrating, for all of us. I really hope to see him back on the grid in Formula 1, which is his desire and the door remains open for him to be in a McLaren in the future.
“If the stars align, I would love to race with him again.”
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That being said, Brown couldn’t be more enthusiastic about this year’s driver line-up.
Norris is staying with the team for a fourth season and Brown said the 23-year-old Englishman “doesn’t get enough credit” for his performances. He will be joined by Piastri, Ricciardo’s compatriot who replaces him as one of F1’s highest-rated recruits of all time after a transfer saga with Alpine.
“We think Oscar is going to be an amazing race car driver,” Brown said. “If you look at his career to date, he has won many championships in his first year, which always tells you that a driver is special.
Sky Sports F1 commentator David Croft thinks there’s little to separate Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo as drivers, but doesn’t think the Aussie is Red Bull’s.
“He has a great mental approach to the sport and now that we think Lando has a lot of experience, we feel like we have a great mix of experience and youth – our experience also happens to have youth.
“We are sitting here very excited about the potential of our Lando and Oscar driver line-up for the foreseeable future.”
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