Zak Brown, CEO of Mclaren Racing, has revealed that the team could have prevented Carlos Sainz from leaving them for Ferrari, but they decided to let the Spaniard go as they were keen on signing Daniel Ricciardo.
“We had the ability to stop him [Carlos Sainz] from going to another team, but you know we have always wanted Daniel Ricciardo,” Brown said.
“It was one of those [times] where the stars aligned and Carlos had a desire to race for Ferrari, which is totally understandable. We obviously would have only allowed that if we felt we could get someone of Daniel’s ability and someone that we wanted a couple of years ago.”
Continuing, Brown explained, “So we said why don’t you go explore and we’ll explore and if you get the opportunity and we can get a seven-time Grand Prix winner then that’s going to work out well for all of us.”
He added that he believes they already have a very strong drive line-up, and it will be “even stronger” next year when they will have Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris racing their cars.
During the 2018 F1 season, when Ricciardo was considering a move away from Red Bull Racing, his two best offers were from Renault and Mclaren.
He ended up joining the French works team, which had a stronger car at the time.
Brown said Ricciardo’s recent change of heart is due to Mclaren making progress and slowly working its way up the pecking order.
“A year later, we have a very strong season, now instead of saying I’m going to get a great team principal, I can say I got Andreas Seidl, who I think is making a huge difference in the team. I’m going to get a great technical director, I got one, James Key.”
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