McLaren CEO Zak Brown believes Daniel Ricciardo has a real shot at turning his Formula 1 career around as the third driver at Red Bull. The Australian parted ways early with McLaren earlier this year after the partnership failed to bring the expected results.
For 2023 he agreed to an agreement with Red Bull where he will serve as the third driver. He is aiming for a full-time return in 2024. While some doubt that he chose the right path to do this, Brown is convinced of the opposite.
He believes his role at Red Bull could offer Ricciardo an immediate chance to show he still has what it takes to win in Formula 1.
Brown draws a comparison to Nyck de Vries
In this context, Brown cites the example of former Mercedes reservist Nyck de Vries. He did such a good job as a substitute for Alex Albon at Williams in Monza that he was able to get a cockpit at AlphaTauri for 2023.
“Look at what happened to Nyck, having a good session,” Brown says. “Suddenly he became a hot topic. So if one of these guys at Red Bull can’t drive for some reason, Ricciardo steps in and suddenly gets the car to where it is now, it can spin really quickly.”
When asked if he sees a better chance that way than a full-time job at Haas, which Ricciardo ruled out, Brown says, “It’s hard to say. In a way, it’s one of the ways it’s going to get back on the radar , in going to Haas and beating Magnussen.”
“The other is that at Red Bull a driver gets Corona and he ends up in a winning car, which he wins the race with and fights his way back onto the grid. So I think it’s hard to say what offers the best odds .”
Unexploited potential at McLaren
Brown continued that he was surprised that Ricciardo was not signed by other teams when it became clear after the summer break that he was available. “But I also think that there were certain teams he didn’t want to drive for. So maybe they would have chosen him,” the American suspects.
“But he clearly wants to stay in the game. He won at Monza last year and has eight race wins in total. That’s a lot of races. So he has the potential. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to unleash it,” said the McLaren boss. CEO.
“Hopefully he can develop it again in a different environment,” Brown said finally, “because I think we’d like to see Daniel on the starting line-up.”