McLaren chief executive Zak Brown has lifted the lid on how he was able to snare Daniel Ricciardo just two years after being knocked back by the Aussie superstar.
Ricciardo made a big call when he decided to part ways from Red Bull and take up Renault’s big-money offer.
But they failed to deliver what he was after while McLaren were on the way up and Ricciardo did not want to take another risk.
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Brown has revealed though that it was the injection of key off-track figures that swayed Ricciardo to make the switch away from the black and yellow – and in particular one ‘monster’.
“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 promise or make claims to Daniel on what my intentions were,” Brown told the In the Fast Lane podcast.
“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.
“A year on he was able to see I put my money where my mouth was so to speak and the results were coming … that is ultimately why he made the decision this time around.”
Brown elaborated, saying that it was a case of perfect timing given Carlo Sainz’s departure to Ferrari in 2021.
Ricciardo was considered at one point to be the frontrunner for the vacant seat at Ferarri however Sebastian Vettel’s spot was instead taken by Sainz.
“We had the ability to stop him (Sainz) from going to another team, but you know we have always wanted Dan Ricciardo,” Brown said.
“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.”