As Zak Brown schedules discussions for later this year, Daniel Ricciardo sees himself playing catch-up with rookie McLaren teammate Lando Norris.
McLaren manager Zak Brown states that he and Daniel Ricciardo will meet soon in the year to negotiate about the Australian’s long-term career with the team.
After switching from Renault at the end of 2020, Ricciardo is currently in his second season with McLaren. Despite winning the squad’s first victory since 2013, he was defeated by new teammate Lando Norris in his debut year.
Despite failing to collect points in three of the four races in 2022, the ex Red Bull driver has significantly outperformed so far this season, according to his boss.
McLaren will be interested to understand where Ricciardo, 32, views his potential in Formula One since his existing deal expires at the conclusion of the 2023 season.
Ricciardo is back “at the top of his game”
Brown says that now that Ricciardo’s challenging 2021 season is over, the eight-time championship winner is returning at the “top of his game.”
“His race days have been very, very strong [and] he’s been much better in qualifying,” said Brown, speaking to the F1 Nation podcast ahead of the Miami Grand Prix.
“Listening to him earlier this week with the team, he still doesn’t feel he’s 10 out of 10 on top of the car, but he’s got a great relationship with Lando and he knows the team well.
“It was great that he was able to go back to Australia for the first time in a couple of years and recharge the batteries and see the family, so we’re really happy to see Daniel on top of his game.”
Brown: There’s no rush to assess Ricciardo
Ricciardo seems to be under pressure to succeed or possibly lose his position, with McLaren possessing a trio of up-and-coming racers from the Americas – and the US market being essential for the car brand.
Pato O’Ward lately excelled during an F1 testing with the squad, Colton Herta, another IndyCar driver, will have his chance shortly, and 14-year-old Ugo Ugochukwu is attempting to make his spot in the junior circuit.
“Probably later this year. We have another year together,” Brown responded when questioned if conversations over Ricciardo’s long-term future will take place soon.
“We do like to think long out [into the future], hence why we’re doing some testing with Pato, we’re going to do some testing with Colton, we’ve got Ugo in Formula 4 who put it on pole in his first race.
“I don’t think you can ever plan too early, but there’s no rush.”
Daniel Ricciardo, F1, F1 2022, Formula 1, Grand Prix, Lando Norris, McLaren