McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown has affirmed that there are no hard feelings between himself and Daniel Ricciardo amid the Australian’s separation from the team.
Ricciardo signed for Renault in 2019 from Red Bull having initially not seen enough from McLaren to suggest that they were the better fit for him.
Ironically, McLaren surpassed Renault in the Constructors’ Standings that season, and Brown managed to tempt Ricciardo away from the French team in a move that was confirmed early on in the COVID-affected 2020 campaign.
The 33-year-old signed off with two podiums, and headed to McLaren in search of wins and podiums alongside Lando Norris.
Sadly, things have not worked out that way, and he has struggled for form with the Woking side, scoring points just 17 times.
There have been some glimpses of his prodigious talent, and one of those was on display in Monza last year when he won the race, bringing McLaren their first victory in 2012.
It was also their first one-two since 2010 as Norris finished second, but it is the 22-year-old who, overall, has consistently out-performed his team-mate.
Ricciardo has faced some public criticism from Brown this season amid his form, and the 50-year-old previously hinted that there are “mechanisms” through which the team can end the Aussie’s contract.
That has now happened, with confirmation on Wednesday that, by mutual consent, the eight-time race winner will be released at the end of this season.
However, the American did not want to leave Ricciardo high and dry, so he reportedly offered him a place in IndyCar, but the 32-time podium finisher is keen on remaining in Formula 1.
Brown wishes things had worked out with Ricciardo, but he cherishes the good moments they have shared together.
“Daniel’s a wonderful person and a great person to be around, we’ve had many laughs, we’ve sprayed champagne together and it’s very personal,” he said, quoted by GPFans.
“Today is a sad day that things didn’t work out as we had hoped they would, I’m going to look back with some very fond memories at some fun times together on and off the track.
“We’re in a business, Andreas [Seidl, team principal] and everyone here at McLaren, we need to focus on ultimate performance.
“We hope and wish Daniel all the best, there is absolutely no ill will between us.
“It was all very amicable and I think he too has had a very good time at McLaren.
“He is young, so we hope to see him in a competitive racing car.
“One of these days we might see him being a pain for us on the racetrack and that will be fun because he’s a great competitor.”
Guenther Steiner confirmed during Friday practice in Belgium that Haas have not made any contact with Ricciardo about driving for them next year, but there may be an opportunity there if the American side choose not to renew Mick Schumacher.
Oscar Piastri is set to replace his compatriot at McLaren after he turned down a promotion from Alpine, so it is also possible that Ricciardo could make a return to Enstone.