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Brown: McLaren pretty close to signing Ricciardo

NEWS STORY
05/08/2018

In the wake of Daniel Ricciardo's switch to Renault, McLaren boss Zak Brown claims the Woking team was close to signing the Australian.

"We had a couple of meetings and we are big fans of Daniel," Brown tells Racer. "I think he's a great guy, I think he's a great race car driver.

"How close we came to getting him, I think only Daniel knows the answer to that question," adds Brown. "Had we been running more competitively I think that would have increased our odds.

"I think he had a strong desire to leave and I think it was probably pretty close between us and Renault, but ultimately Daniel would be best to tell you how close. But he was certainly someone that we rate very highly."

Rumours linking Ricciardo with McLaren first appeared in late June after Germany's Bild claimed that the Red Bull star had been offered $20m a year to make the move to Woking, around three times his salary with the Milton Keynes-based outfit.

Pointing out at the time that there were no quotes to give the Bild story any real merit, we remarked that a move to McLaren at this stage would be "career suicide" and actually suggested the Australian should consider a switch to Renault, in what we termed "an interesting, and possibly very rewarding move".

Ricciardo's switch to Renault is expected to kick-start the driver market, as Red Bull seeks a partner for Max Verstappen, and McLaren awaits news of Fernando Alonso's plans.

"It's thrown a spanner in the works for some other teams," says Brown, "but we've got a plan which we are executing against which Ricciardo's move doesn't impact.

"Red Bull is a great racing team but I think Fernando has got what he wants to do in the back of his mind. Never say never, but I don't think it changes anything in Fernando's world."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by vins0n, 08/08/2018 13:13

"You should have seen the one that got away."

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2. Posted by Rock Doc, 07/08/2018 1:41

"Brown certainly is full of ... brown ... . I’ve never read such c@#$ in my life.

Fix the car and the drivers will come. Only Maldonado would want a MacLaren drive at the moment.

It was as close as they are to the front."

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3. Posted by koko, 06/08/2018 10:39

"Thank God they didn't! :) It avoids ruining another driver's career!"

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4. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 06/08/2018 8:30

"Sure I read perhaps on Pitpass that he was looking for 2 drivers, this must confirm Alonso is leaving F1 hence the bids for Ricciardo / Raikkonen plus no doubt others, with Norris replacing Vandorne, as others have stated on here, sort the car first."

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5. Posted by mds167, 06/08/2018 6:07

" "but we've got a plan which we are executing against which Ricciardo's move doesn't impact.”

A plan we have just had to change because Daniel said no.

“...but I think Fernando has got what he wants to do in the back of his mind. Never say never, but I don't think it changes anything in Fernando's world."

A plan we’ll have to change again if Fernando deserts us. Previously Zak was quoted elsewhere saying

“We do have a long-term agreement in place with Stoffel and Fernando, but as you can imagine in these contracts there’s a variety of elements to them,” said Brown.

“We will make our driver decision ultimately when we’re ready. I anticipate that being some time after the summer break.

“We’re still reviewing, analysing what’s ultimately the best combination for McLaren moving forward. Stoffel is very much part of that consideration set.”

And then there is the potential of Norris. This ‘reviewing, analysing’ is just prevaricating, waiting for Daniel to say ‘no’ and Fernando to go ‘oh, alright then’.






"

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6. Posted by Peter Rickitt, 06/08/2018 2:34

"When is this bumptious man going to learn to shut up and DELIVER ?
He already has one of the best drivers on the grid, heritage to die for and relatively deep-pocket shareholders - if he cannot persuade them to up Mclaren's game, they should spare us all having to endure Brown's verbose failure and bring in someone who actually gets results rather than talks about what might have been and what plans he has.
A plan for all reasons, that's Zebedee Zak.
"

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7. Posted by Mocha, 05/08/2018 20:05

"They've already got an immensely popular driver. I would think that 20m/year would be much better spent on engineering/development. Now if they signed Daniel with express instructions that he and Fernando are to race against each other, no holds barred, no quarter given... I may tune in just for that"

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8. Posted by Greg, 05/08/2018 14:58

"We wait with baited breath"

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