‘Totally committed’: McLaren boss confirms Daniel Ricciardo’s future

McLaren boss Zak Brown has confirmed Daniel Ricciardo’s future after his criticism of the Aussie rocked the F1 world.

McLaren boss Zak Brown has confirmed Daniel Ricciardo’s contract with the team will expire and will not be fired early.

Brown surprised the F1 world earlier this year when he explained Ricciardo’s achievements since joining McLaren have “failed to meet our expectations” and Lando Norris has a clear “lead” over his teammate.

The McLaren CEO then threw in the towel when he proposed Ricciardo’s contract with the papaya team, which expires at the end of 2023, was not waterproof and there were clauses in it that would allow McLaren to split up if its performance doesn’t improve.

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It has now been reported Ricciardo can break his contract, but McLaren cannot† But his poor results have done little to quell speculation that this season could be the 33-year-old’s last in F1.

Ricciardo sits 14th in the Drivers’ Championship and has only finished in the top 10 twice this season so far.

But in an interview with Fox Motorsport host Jessica Yates, Brown denied McLaren intended to give Ricciardo the film, suggesting he will at least stay with the team until his contract expires at the end of next season.

Yates asked, “Will he read his contract?” to which Brown replied, “Oh yes.”

“We just keep pushing hard,” he said.

“We enjoy working with him. He loves the team. We’ve seen that when we give him a car that can win, he can win in it.

“He thought he didn’t have a good season last year and won anyway (in Monza). So it’s in there. “We just need to figure out how to unlock him and give him a car he’s more comfortable with. We have a great relationship.”

Brown’s criticism of Ricciardo sent the F1 rumor mill into overdrivebut he explained that he was just be honestand added that his comments were no harsher than how Ricciardo judges his own performance.

“No, not at all within the race team,” he said when asked if his words caused a stir in the McLaren garage.

“I know it has caused a lot of waves outside.

“Daniel and I have a great relationship. We ate dinner in London not long after, we trade on WhatsApp all the time.

“Someone asked me a question and I gave them an honest answer. It is the same answer that Daniel has given and would give, namely: we are not where we want to be.

“On the other hand, if I said, ‘Everything is great,’ people would say, ‘Really, you’re happy with the 12th?’ Of course I’m not happy with the 12th. It was just an honest answer. It was not meant to be critical.

“It doesn’t mean we don’t think he can win us more races, it doesn’t mean we don’t try incredibly hard.

“On the contrary – I know he can win more races for us, we are trying incredibly hard, but given his resume and how Lando is doing, we expect him to be next to Lando, front or behind?

‘Yes, and so does he. And we’re going to get there. We are fully committed to it.”

Brown took a swipe at former F1 world champion Jenson Button, who said he was “surprised” Brown had publicly criticized Ricciardo and did not “protect” his driver

“I saw one of our former Grand Prix drivers (Jenson Button) say, ‘We all know, I can’t believe he said it,'” said Brown.

“It was like, ‘Well, if we all know, who cares if I said it’.

“I wasn’t supposed to ask anyone a question, I gave them an honest answer.”

The F1 season continues on Sunday at 11 p.m. (AEST) during the Austrian Grand Prix. The only place to watch the action is on Fox Sports and Kayo

Watch Jessica Yates’ full interview with Zak Brown on Kayo Freebies (no credit card information required to sign up).

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