Zak Brown breaks silence on axed Daniel Ricciardo joining Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo has returned to Red Bull as a development driver, following four seasons away from the Austrians.

2022 saw the end of several relationships in Formula 1, some good, some bad, and some controversial.

Daniel Ricciardo’s two years racing for McLaren sort of falls into all three of those categories, with the Aussie having experienced highs and an awful lot of lows with the Woking-based side.

The peak of their partnership was, of course, his famous victory at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, McLaren’s first since 2012 and the 33-year-old’s first since 2018.

In all honesty, though, that was about it in regard to the pair’s good moments together.

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Ricciardo largely struggled to adjust to the British side and spent both seasons with the team in Lando Norris’ shadow.

It was speculated that he would be dropped for 2023, despite being contracted for next season by the team.

What is somewhat controversial, though, is that McLaren’s deal with Oscar Piastri for 2023 was signed much earlier than originally thought, and to the obliviousness of Ricciardo.

His departure is seemingly the right thing for both parties, with Ricciardo knowing that he needs time away from the sport following four challenging years.

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He does seem to be in the best place for 2023, with the Aussie having been declared as Red Bull’s development driver for next season.

This will see the Honey Badger reunited with the side he claimed seven victories for, meaning he is certainly returning to an environment he thrived in.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown is pleased that Ricciardo is remaining in an F1 role next season, something he hails as a “positive”.

“I think it’s good to have Daniel in Formula 1, regardless of what team it is,” Brown said.

“It’s a positive and most importantly, I hope we see him in a Formula 1 car.”

2022 wasn’t just a tough year for Ricciardo but for McLaren as a whole, as the British side very much returned to the midfield.

The side achieved just one podium during the first season of the new aerodynamic regulations, thanks to Norris finishing third at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

To their frustration, McLaren ended the year fifth in the Constructors’ Championship, with Brown admitting that the team weren’t “as competitive” as they were in 2021.

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“Lots of learning, lots of ups and downs,” added the American.

“Not as competitive as we were last year, but I think we’re a better racing team this year,” he said of this year.

“We’re operationally more sound. Our pit stops are better. We’ve got our investments that are nearing completion. So I think we’ve learned a lot. New regulations, and excited for next year and to see Oscar in the car.”