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f1 ricciardo brown mclaren

Brown: Very hopeful Daniel will be on the F1 grid next year

f1 ricciardo brown mclaren

Zak Brown admits he is surprised that Daniel Ricciardo’s career stalled at McLaren, while wishing the Australian well the CEO hinted that the 33-year-old may still have options in Formula 1.

Many were surprised when Oscar Piastri declined his promotion to Alpine in the wake of Fernando Alonso’s defection to Aston Martin soon after Sebastian Vettel decided to stop F1 at the end of this season.

Piastri did not want Alpine because McLaren had come knocking at the highly rated 21-year-old, swapping an Australian to partner Lando Norris. This courting meant that McLaren, from Zak through to Andreas Seidl, did not have confidence in Ricciardo adding to the team beyond this year; instead opting for a highly rated and untried in F1 yet to be rookie.

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Which Brown told Racer he did not expect when signing Dan: “I think it is fair to say that we are all surprised that it didn’t deliver more results, and more Monza-like performances,. Clearly he has got a fantastic CV.

“He came into us as a seven-time grand prix winner, and leaves us as an eight-time grand prix winner with nine races to go, so who knows what happens later this year. Hopefully, he will find his form in a new environment.”

Money is sure to have changed hands to pacify Ricciardo’s losses either as a cash buyout or a barter, this remains to be seen and will emerge at some point. How much in total would be guess for anyone besides the few concerned with the deal.

Zak: We are very hopeful that Daniel will be on the F1 grid next year

Ricciardo: Excited to go home, it's been a while

The fact it remains rosy suggests there are no hard feelings from the driver; Brown said of the deal: “I won’t get into any contractual details, other than to say we came to a very amicable and agreeable solution.

“We don’t have any knowledge of what his plans may or may not be, other than his desire to be on the Formula 1 grid, but we’re certainly very hopeful from a sporting standpoint that he’s on the grid next year.”

Never discussed was a transfer to McLaren’s Indycar programme or a clause to keep Ricciaiardo out of a F1 drive, As Ferrari did at the end of 2009 with a reported $15-million payout to Kimi Raikkonen to sit out a couple of seasons so they could fast-track Fernando Alonso into the team.

Nevertheless, the Ricciardo camp wanted between $20-million and $30-million (depending on who you believe) to terminate the McLaren contract a year earlier. A mutually acceptable aaccord was clearly reached.

Brown revealed: “It was never a discussion between Andreas and I — nor Daniel — to consider not allowing him to race in any other form of motorsport next year, and we hope he does.

“He’s a friend of the family and always will be, and we believe at McLaren that restricting a racing driver from racing cars is certainly something that McLaren would never do.”

If Ricciardo doesn’t stay in F1 and shows an interest in racing in IndyCar, Formula E or Extreme E, Brown says he’d be open to talking to him about a switch of series.

“We are Daniel Ricciardo fans, and we do have other racing activities and if that was something that was of interest to Daniel, we would welcome those conversations. We will let him speak for himself, but I believe he is very focused on Formula 1 at the moment,” concluded Brown.