Fresh details emerge over Ricciardo’s McLaren exit

Daniel Ricciardo’s ex-Formula 1 race engineer Tom Stallard has provided fresh insight into the Australian’s exit from McLaren.

Ricciardo departed the Woking-based squad at the end of the 2022 campaign, bringing an end to two challenging seasons with the team.

The 34-year-old was replaced by compatriot Oscar Piastri and returned to Red Bull in a third driver role before being promoted back to the Formula 1 grid with RB.

Ricciardo struggled alongside team-mate Lando Norris during his term at McLaren but worked closely with race engineer Stallard in a bid to improve his form.

Shining light on the difficulties Ricciardo faced, Stallard told BBC Sport: “Daniel joined the team during the second Covid lockdown.

“That was quite challenging because he was based in Los Angeles and we had to [get to know each other] over video call. We could cover the technical stuff, but we missed out on quite a lot of the social interaction.

“Ideally you know the driver well enough to allow quite a lot of unheard, non-verbal communication to happen between you.

“A driver struggling is a very tricky situation in a sport where there is virtually no training. You go away, lick your wounds, try to understand what happened and what you need to do differently, then come back with a new plan and try again.”

Stallard found Ricciardo exit difficult

Stallard added it was difficult to deal with Ricciardo’s departure from the squad amid his struggles.

“When the team decided that they were going to get Oscar instead of Daniel, it took quite a long time for me to process that, because I was so deep into the process of working with him and improving with him all the time,” he said.

“It was frustrating that it ended before we solved the puzzle. I never really lost heart. I never felt like, ‘Oh this isn’t going to work out’.

“This is going to sound weird in a way, but I am quite proud of the work we did with Daniel. We all worked pretty hard on that, including him too.

“We are still very good friends now, I see him at all the tracks. It would be easy to imagine that the opposite would be true.

“Partly it is a reflection on his character, and I would like to think a reflection of the strong collaboration between us, too.”


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