Zak Brown explains why he sacked experienced Daniel Ricciardo for 21-year-old ‘rookie’ Oscar Piastri

Daniel Ricciardo was ousted by McLaren at the back end of last season and the team’s boss Zak Brown has now explained why he let go of the experienced driver in place of rookie Oscar Piastri.

Rumours of Piastri joining the team had already started doing the rounds by the time the formal decision of Ricciardo being sacked was reached.

Ricciardo will be proud that he was at least able to manage one Grand prix win, ending a decade-long wait for McLaren during his stint with the team.

However, he was constantly struggling behind the wheels and the younger Lando Norris was outscoring him on a regular basis.

Even in the final driver standings, Norris finished in 7th position while Ricciardo was 11th.

Piastri proves to be somewhat of a risk for McLaren owing to a number of factors.

It will be Piastri’s first full-time job in the sport, having previously raced for Alpine as the team’s reserve driver in 2022.

The 21-year-old has won the F2 title in 2021, but his lack of experience is obvious given his age.

It will give Lando a new role in the team as well, as it will be the first time he is the senior teammate.

Brown admitted that although Piastri does pose a bit of a risk owing to the aforementioned reasons, the team is confident he can produce the goods.

“We think Oscar is going to be a sensational racing driver,” Brown said.

“if you look at his career to date, he’s won a lot of championships in his first year, which always tells you a driver’s special. He’s got a great mental approach to the sport.

“Now that we feel that Lando has a lot of experience, we feel like we have a great blend of experience and youth. Our experience just also happens to have youth.

“So I think we sit here very excited with the potential of our driver line-up of Lando and Oscar for the foreseeable future.”

Brown has been a driver himself in the past and believes this helps him make the right choices as far as identifying talent is concerned.

“I think it does [help], not only in choosing racing drivers but how to work with racing drivers,” he said.

“But then also in the racing environment, I’ve been around a lot of racing teams. I know what great looks like, I know what not great looks like.

“I’ve been around a lot of Formula 1 teams, a lot of IndyCar teams, a lot of NASCAR teams, a lot of sports car teams, I’ve been around drag racing teams.

“Greatness all looks the same regardless of what racing series you’re in, and not being so great all looks the same regardless of what racing series you’re in.

“So I think, having been around racing my entire life and driven [myself], I think that gives me a lot of good perspectives on how to assess what’s going on inside the garage.”

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