“We have always wanted Dan Ricciardo”- Zak Brown admits that his team could have stopped Carlos Sainz but preferred to have Ricciardo.
Before te start of the season, there was a huge shuffling of drivers withing the teams, which is technically still happening. It started with Sebastian Vettel announcing his departure from Ferrari.
In response, soon Ferrari announced that Carlos Sainz will replace Vettel in the team, making Daniel Ricciardo pounce at the opportunity of vacant McLaren seat.
Then after a delay Renault announced that Fernando Alonso will make a return to F1 for the French team. Now, Vettel’s saga is over with him joining hands with Racing Point, but Sergio Perez’s journey starts from here as he is yet to decide about his future.
Amidst all of this McLaren’s Zak Brawn has confessed that all of it could have been avoided via McLaren, as they could have allegedly stop Sainz from joining Ferrari, but McLaren apparently saw an opportunity to sign Ricciardo.
“We had the ability to stop him (Sainz) from going to another team, but you know we have always wanted Dan Ricciardo,” Brown said on the In the Fast Lane podcast.
“But it was one of those (times) where the stars aligned and Carlos had a desire to race for Ferrari, which is totally understandable. We obviously would have only allowed that if we felt we could get someone of Daniel’s ability and someone that we wanted a couple of years ago.
“So we said why don’t you go explore and we’ll explore and if you get the opportunity and we can get a seven-time Grand Prix winner then that’s going to work out well for all of us.
“I think we’ve got a great driver line-up and I think it’s only going to be stronger with Daniel and Lando.” he further said.
McLaren went for Ricciardo in 2018
N the last phase of 2018, during his last days at Red Bull, when Ricciardo was analysing his option, McLaren was intensively in contact with Ricciardo, but at that time McLaren was not at a pleasant phase.
Thus, the Australlian driver chose to drive for Renault, pushing Sainz out of that team and making McLaren settle for the Spaniard. Now, two years later with much improved McLaren, Ricciardo is set to have his time in the British team.
“A couple of years ago we were coming off a horrific season, one of our worst in McLaren history and really all I could do at that point was a promise or make claims to Daniel on what my intentions were,” Brown added.
“But at that point, it’s just words – ‘I’m going to get a great team principal, I’m going to get a great technical director, we’re going to get the resources we need’ … it was a lot of promises.
“Understandably he went all sounds good, but you are coming off one of the worst seasons in McLaren’s history and I think ultimately it didn’t get him over the line for those reasons.
“A year later, we have a very strong season, now I can say instead of saying I’m going to get a great team principal, I can say I got Andreas Seidl, who I think is making a huge difference in the team. I’m going to get a great technical director, I got one, James Key.
“(Ricciardo’s) a huge Andreas fan and I think that had a big part in his decision making progress as he says ‘Andreas is a monster’, and I think he means that in a good way.”