McLaren CEO Zak Brown believes new recruit Daniel Ricciardo can “immediately” be World Champion in the right car.
The Woking outfit finished P4 in the Constructors’ Championship last season, their best result since 2012, and they are showing strong signs of being on the road to recovery.
And if they can provide the right car, then Brown thinks Ricciardo can “immediately” insert himself into the title battle.
“I think in the right car Daniel is capable of winning a championship immediately,” he told Sky Sports F1.
“He’s extremely marketable from a commercial standpoint, he’s a very exciting driver. I think the combination of he and Lando will be awesome, and they’ll be kind of the fan favourites, on and off the track.”
Ricciardo has won seven races so far in his F1 career, and Brown thinks signing the Aussie driver is another crucial step in McLaren’s road to recovery.
“We’re kind of on this road to recovery, and last year was a big step forward. With that you need to have the best of everything if you can get it,” he explained.
“I think in a relative short period of time Andreas [Seidl] as our team principal has been a great addition to our team, James Key has started, then a lot of people you don’t see behind the scenes, who ultimately contribute to a race team being successful.
“We restructured the entire leadership team, that took some time, they are now all in place. Andreas really has the race team where he wants it.
“Then of course you want to have two great drivers, which we currently have today, but to be able to have a seven-time winner, someone that you know is the absolute benchmark, is great for the team.
“And it also gives Lando a chance to step up and give us a chance to see Lando in action against a seven-time winner.”