Brown admits McLaren could terminate Ricciardo’s contract if he doesn’t get closer to Norris

Daniel Ricciardo has faced public criticism from McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown in the last week.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown has suggested that there are “mechanisms” in place in Daniel Ricciardo’s current deal that could see it cut short before the end of 2023.

Ricciardo was given a three-year contract when he joined McLaren last season, but he was out-qualified 15 times by team-mate Lando Norris, who out-raced him by the same score and ended the season 45 points ahead in the Drivers’ Championship.

The Australian managed just 13 points finishes, and only one in the final five rounds of the year, although he did grab the Woking side’s first win since 2012 in Monza.

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The 32-year-old looked pumped up and ready to go in 2022, but similar fortunes have sadly befallen Ricciardo, who has only scored points on two occasions so far, including the Imola sprint.

His slump from P9 to P12 in Barcelona exemplified what has been a tremendously tough start to the season, and Brown is seemingly becoming slightly impatient with his driver’s form, saying previously that he had not “met his or our expectations.”

Now, the American indicates that there is a possibility of letting him go if the partnership does not work out.

“I don’t want to get into the contract but there are mechanisms in which we’re committed to each other and then there’s mechanisms in which we’re not,” said the American, quoted by the Race.

“I’ve spoken with Daniel about it, we’re not getting the results that we both hoped for, but we’re both going to continue to push.

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“I think he showed at Monza he can win races. We also need to continue to develop our race car, it’s not capable of winning races, but we’d like to see him further up the grid.

“We’ll just play it – I don’t want to say ‘one race at a time’ because we’re not going to one race at a time – but we’ll just see how things develop, what he wants to do.”

What will not have helped Ricciardo’s fortunes is a crash during practice on Friday in Monaco at the swimming pool section, and the eight-time race winner suggested that the setup experiments the team had gone for were perhaps a little too much.

“It happens quickly but… it kind of slowed down as well,” he said after FP2.

“Like I knew everything that was happening and I tried to save it but already kind of into Turn 13, I already started losing it.

“I could feel the car was starting to get away from me and yeah, [it was] a little strange.

“I think normally you probably pick up some stuff maybe on Turn 14 on the kerb if you get a bit too greedy and the car can get unloaded.

“I think obviously we just pushed a few things with setup – obviously we’re trying – but yeah, pushed a little too far probably in a couple of areas.

“[I] tried my best to save it but we couldn’t so I know they’ll fix it, obviously we missed all the session but I’m okay, we’ll be ready to go tomorrow.

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“[The] morning was good, we’ll use that, Lando had a pretty good P2 by the look of it so yeah we can bounce back.”

Ricciardo is currently 11th in the Drivers’ Standings heading into the Monaco race that he won in 2018, and at which he has appeared on the podium a further three times.