Daniel Ricciardo insists Mark Webber gunning for a McLaren seat for Oscar Piastri is just business and that he doesn’t take it personally.
Ricciardo has finally been announced to be leaving McLaren a year earlier from his contract original end date at the end of 2023, with compatriot Oscar Piastri – managed by Mark Webber, Australian as well – being the driver mostly tipped to take his place, that is once and if the legalities between McLaren and Alpine are sorted out.
With it becoming somehow an Australian affair, Ricciardo was naturally asked over the weekend of the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix, how he felt that fellow countrymen were involved in the events that lead to his exit from Woking.
Ricciardo told the media in Belgium: “I honestly still don’t know what the future holds for Oscar. But yeah, I mean, from the terms of that, it’s just business.
“And obviously Mark’s just doing his job for Oscar. So I don’t take any of that personal,” the Honey Badger insisted.
“Assuming Oscar… I think he is kind of guaranteed a spot on the grid next year somewhere. So I will support him, and I will support a fellow Aussie and yeah, I don’t I don’t take it personal,” he added.
Asked if he has heard from Webber and Piastri, Riccirado responded: “No. I don’t think there’s been a reason for him to reach out.
“I said, I’m sure they’re going through their stuff as well. So yeah, I’ve obviously been trying to sort my stuff out,” he revealed.
Ricciardo: I can hold my head high
Despite failing to perform at a decent level at McLaren, Ricciardo is adamant that he has left no stone unturned in his quest to get to understand the Papaya Formula 1 cars he’s had to drive.
“Well, it’s obviously not the nicest feeling,” he said of his departure. “But I can hold my head high in terms of applying myself and trying to make it work, like trying to put everything in.
“Sometimes you just have to accept that, okay, I try it and it didn’t necessarily work out,” he added. “But, from that point of view, I don’t look back in terms of ‘man, I was slacking off, and that’s why, like, I earned this’, or whatever.
“It’s just one of those things. I’m proud of the way we tried to make it happen and persist through it, but some things maybe you just say that they’re not meant to be,” he lamented.
Asked how being let go by McLaren will affect the remainder of his season, the 33-year-old from Perth said: “It doesn’t change the way I’m going to go racing.
“I only know how to race one way,” he added. “And, you know, I went in to see… Because I hadn’t really seen the team, I had simulator during the week, so I saw a few engineers, but I hadn’t seen you know, the wider team and I saw the mechanics and that this morning and you know, there’s a lot of hugs and a lot of people obviously want me to do well and are going to support me until the end.
“So that’s that. As I say, I owe it to myself, but also to the ones who support and want me to do well. There’s no better feeling than success in this sport and being up on the podium and that, so I know if I apply myself then maybe we will find a way to do it in the last nine races,” the eight-time race winner explained.