Brown explains Ricciardo’s McLaren U-turn

Mark Scott
Daniel Ricciardo

McLaren boss Zak Brown thinks Daniel Ricciardo has said yes this time around because he now sees them as a “team on the move”.

McLaren did try to sign Ricciardo in the final year of his Red Bull contract in 2018 but he ultimately chose Renault instead.

Two years later, though, McLaren’s pursuit of the Aussie has been a successful one and Brown has given what he feels are the reasons behind Ricciardo accepting the offer to join in 2021.

“Getting a grand prix winner like Daniel definitely is a sign we’ve going in the right direction,” Brown told Sky Sports F1.

“He believes in that.

“We went after him a couple of years ago before he made the decision not to join us. I’ve talked to him about it since and he went ‘you were coming off a pretty poor season’ – which was putting it politely – ‘but also there was a lot of this is what we’re going to do to rebuild the team’.

“I hadn’t brought in yet Andreas Seidl or James Key or restructured the leadership team. So there were a lot of promises and, coming off such a bad season, I could see how he would go ‘oh, let’s see how this plays out’.

“But he likes how it’s played out, I’ve liked how it’s played out.

“He’s seen the changes we’ve made, the leadership Andreas has brought, the backing we have from our shareholders, going to the Mercedes engine, we’re a team on the move and I think he’s going to help get us to the next level.”

McLaren were of course forced into action after Sebastian Vettel’s confirmed exit from Ferrari prompted the Scuderia to finalise a two-year deal for current McLaren driver Carlos Sainz.

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