"He doesn't want to drive for a team that's 9th or 10th"- McLaren boss on why Daniel Ricciardo is willing to take a sabbatical from F1 

F1 Grand Prix of Japan
Daniel Ricciardo could have got a seat at Haas or Williams

Daniel Ricciardo recently revealed that he would be taking a sabbatical next season. While Ricciardo could have easily gone to a less competitive team instead of taking a break, according to McLaren CEO Zak Brown, the driver would not have been comfortable doing that.

Speaking exclusively to Speedcafe and in Bathurst, Brown said that he will miss Ricciardo and believes that he adds a lot of value to F1. He did, however, express that he felt the Australian could have stayed on the grid if he was fine with joining the 9th or 10th fastest team. He said:

"I think like everyone's bummed he won't be on the grid, because he's great for the sport and he wants to race. He probably could have driven for Williams or Haas is my guess. I’m speculating that he doesn't want to drive for a team that's ninth or 10th in the championship, which I understand, given his pedigree. But hopefully, he’ll come back in 2024."

Speaking about the decision to replace Daniel Ricciardo, Zak Brown admitted that working with the Australian had never been an issue. The problem was a lack of performance that could not be overlooked while running an F1 team. He said:

"It wasn't an easy decision, it wasn't a overnight decision, it was something that we spoke with him about for many months. Because ultimately, I don't think either of us got the results that we'd hoped and we felt we'd given it sufficient time [on] both sides...As a mate, he's great guy. But at the end of the day, we can't make decisions based on who's a mate and who's not a mate."

Daniel Ricciardo handled everything very maturely: Zak Brown

Daniel Ricciardo's approach after he found out he was getting replaced by Oscar Piastri was lauded by Zak Brown. He revealed that the Australian had remained professional throughout the process and respected the team's decision. He said:

"He’s been awesome. From day one to today, the way he's conducted himself; the maturity that he's shown in our conversations; the way he's handled the media and the team relationship; he's never once placed blame [on the team], which I think a lot of drivers would do."
It's official! 😁#F1 #OP81 @mclaren

He further added:

"I will cheer for him today in the last four races as much as much as ever, because we need him and Lando to deliver in the close fight for fourth [in Constructors' Championship]."

As Daniel Ricciardo announced his sabbatical, he also said he was keeping an eye on the reserve driver role if available.

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Edited by Prem Deshpande
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