Ricciardo’s Monza win a career highlight for McLaren bosses

Lando Norris, Zak Brown, and Daniel Ricciardo on the Monza podium last year

Victory in last year’s Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix remains a career highlight for McLaren team bosses Andreas Seidl and Zak Brown.

Daniel Ricciardo headed a one-two for the Woking squad in last year’s race; its first win since Brazil 2012, and first one-two result since Canada 2010.

In the years since, McLaren parted ways with engine partner Mercedes, switching first to Honda before dumping the Japanese marque in favour of a supply from Renault, only to renew its relationship with Mercedes for 2021.

The team has also undergone a complete transformation during that time with sweeping management changes that see Brown in the CEO role and Seidl looking after the operation’s Formula 1 programme.

That in turn is now part of the broader McLaren Group, which has itself faced significant financial issues in recent years.

It has sold off its electronics division as well as the campus the F1 team’s operation is based on, which McLaren has now leased back.

Through that turmoil, McLaren had been building momentum through 2020 before culminating in Ricciardo’s performance at Monza last year.

Fortunes this year have been somewhat less bright and the operation has slipped behind Alpine into fifth in the constructors’ championship.

After battling through 2021, Ricciardo has continued to struggle to come to grips with the McLaren this season too, resulting in a mutually agreed early termination of his contract.

The Australian will leave the squad at the end of the year, as yet without a seat to move to.

“For me, definitely as well, and for the entire team, being able to score this one-two last year, with winning the race after so many years for McLaren, was a very special moment for me personally and for the entire team,” Seidl said when asked by Speedcafe.com about a highlight of Ricciardo’s time with the team.

“Seeing or experiencing the celebrations afterwards in the garage with Daniel, and also back home with the entire team, is definitely something that was a highlight in my motorsport life, as well as motorsport career, and something I will never forget, and will be grateful to Daniel for the rest of my life.”

Ricciardo will be replaced by Oscar Piastri at the squad.

The 21-year-old Australian is arguably the best credentialed young driver of his generation after claiming three junior championships in succession.

He’s enjoyed a solid testing programme with Alpine this year too as his preparations for an F1 berth continued despite not being on the grid this season.

According to Brown, the relationship with Ricciardo, despite the upheaval of recent weeks, remains positive.

“Very amicable and friendly,” Brown said.

“Obviously disappointing for it to come to an end in this manner.

“We reflect back on things like Monza, which is my personal most exciting moment in my time here at McLaren, being on the podium with Daniel and Lando.

“Yes, disappointing outcome, but we’re excited for the balance of the year, as is Daniel.”

Formula 1 returns to Monza this weekend for the Italian Grand Prix, opening practice commencing on Friday from 14:00 local time (22:00 AEST/08:00 ET).

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