Zak Brown ‘disappointed’ by Daniel Ricciardo ‘mystery’

Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo at 2022 McLaren launch

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Zak Brown has admitted McLaren are still baffled as to why Daniel Ricciardo was not successful at the team. The McLaren team boss has declared it is a “mystery” why the former Red Bull star didn’t make it work at the British manufacturer.

Brown said the team “tried everything” to turn things around and that the Australian also gave it his all. The team principal even suggested his confusion about Ricciardo’s lack of form was one of the biggest reasons behind his F1 exit.

He told Speedcafe: “We don’t know. We’ve certainly analysed it. We gave it everything we’ve got, Daniel gave it everything he’s got and our relationship with Daniel was great.

“It was clearly disappointing for both of us as to the outcome but I think it’s a bit of a great mystery as to why [it happened]. I don’t think Daniel knows, we don’t know, we tried everything. Maybe we worked too hard. I think ultimately that’s why we both decided to make a change because we had tried everything and we really didn’t know why it wasn’t clicking.”

Ricciardo struggled to compete against his team-mate with Lando Norris finishing ahead of him on 17 occasions last season. Norris also got the better of Ricciardo in 2021 after the former race winner switched to the team from Renault.

He has picked up just one race win since leaving Red Bull at the end of 2018 after finishing on the top step at last year’s Italian Grand Prix. Ricciardo was ditched by McLaren over the summer as the team decided to acquire the services of highly-rated rookie Oscar Piastri.

Brown beat Alpine and Otmar Szafnauer to secure the former F2 champion after winning a Contract Recognition Board (CRB) hearing. Ricciardo then opted to re-join Red Bull ahead of 2023 as the team’s third driver.

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The role will allow him time away from the track as he aims to secure a race comeback for 2024. Brown even stresses Ricciardo could return to his best form with a change of environment.

He commented: “So hopefully a change of environment for him [will mean] he’ll get his magic back because for sure he’s a magical guy. You saw in Monza what he’s capable of, and he’s done that seven other times. But we needed to make a change because we couldn’t figure out what had gone wrong.”

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