Daniel Ricciardo will be competitive next season but McLaren chief Zak Brown has warned he won’t be fighting for a World title until 2022.
Ricciardo shocked many, including his Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul, when he announced last month that he would be swapping Renault for McLaren at the end of this year.
The Aussie made the decision without even a single race being run, and concedes that the timing was a bit “weird”.
Abiteboul says he was “surprised” given that Ricciardo had not given Renault an opportunity to show their progress out on track in the 2020 championship.
He, however, feels he has made the right call although Brown has warned the Aussie not to expect a title challenge in his first season with McLaren.
The American, though, is confident the Woking team will provide Ricciardo will a car, powered by a Mercedes engine, that will be competitive.
“I think Daniel is a championship calibre driver,” Brown proclaimed in the latest Sky Sports Vlog.
“I don’t think we’ll quite give him a championship calibre car in 2021, we’re still on our road to recovery.
“But I think we will give him a competitive car and in 2022, let’s see what happens.”
Brown is “super excited” to have Ricciardo joining Lando Norris next season.
McLaren tried to sign the seven-time grand prix winner for the 2019 championship when he started looking at his options outside of Red Bull.
At the time, though, Brown concedes McLaren was not living up to expectations and says he understands why the driver opted for Renault.
“We tried to get Daniel to join our team two years ago and having spoken with him about why he made the decision he did…,” he said.
“You know we were coming off a very poor year and we shared with him our plans but we hadn’t executed whereas now a year on he has seen we have put our money where our mouth is so to speak.
“To have a seven-time grand winner, we have always had winners and World Champions in our car, and he is going to bring a lot excitement.
“The duo of Daniel and Lando will be awesome on track and off track, two great personalities. But that’s 2021.”
Head over to your provider of choice to listen to Episode 13 of the PlanetF1 podcast, or simply press play below.