Zak Brown has insisted his relationship with Daniel Ricciardo has “never been better” amid speculation over a rift between the two.
The Australian has endured a difficult second season as a McLaren driver so far, with both driver and team struggling for performance. Notwithstanding improved results in his last two outings, Ricciardo had previously only found anything to be happy about in a decent haul of points at his home race.
More points in Baku, followed by a promising yet ultimately fruitless drive in Montreal, have come in the wake of speculation over his future with the team. Much of that talk was fuelled by comments from Brown, who said publicly that the 32-year-old’s results have “generally not met his or our expectations”
But Ricciardo has dismissed the idea of an early exit from his contract with the papaya team, revealing “some chats” he had with Brown while team principal Andreas Seidl also gave his vote of confidence. Now, Brown has made a point of talking up his relationship with the Australian as they look to improve together.
“We have a great relationship and had dinner a couple of weeks ago in London,” said the American. “We have good laughs together, and enjoy racing together, so the relationship with Daniel has never been better.”
Explaining his comments about a failure to meet expectations, he added: “I was asked a question and I just gave an honest answer. I think Daniel has said the same thing – we are here to try to get towards the front.
“We’ve had some awesome weekends like Monza [Ricciardo won the 2021 race ahead of team-mate Lando Norris in second], and then some disappointing weekends. And coming back to our car, I don’t think we’ve yet given our drivers a car that is capable of being at the front on a regular basis, so we need to do that.
“We have a great relationship, and I just gave an honest answer about a question about how things are going, and things could be going better, but we’re going to work hard and make sure that they [go better] in the future.
“I think last year in Monza when we had a strong race car, we could see what Daniel and Lando could do with it. I think we need to focus on giving our drivers better race cars. And I think Daniel is highly motivated, he has all of our support, and we’re having fun. I have a great relationship with him.”
Leave a Reply