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Brown explains why McLaren replaced Ricciardo with a rookie

Following the mutual decision between Daniel Ricciardo and McLaren to terminate the Australian's multi-year contract early, it was confirmed that Oscar Piastri would replace him at the team in 2023. CEO Zak Brown has outlined why the squad have swapped experience for youth.

Zak Brown has explained why McLaren opted to replace the experienced Daniel Ricciardo with rookie Oscar Piastri. Following weeks of speculation over his future, it was confirmed in August that Ricciardo and McLaren had mutually agreed to terminate his multi-year contract early, meaning that he would leave the team at the end of 2022. Soon afterwards, Piastri was officially announced as a McLaren driver for 2023 after the team faced a much-publicised battle with Alpine over his services, with the outcome eventually being decided by the Contract Recognition Board. The 21-year-old – who won the Formula 2 title in 2021 before acting as a reserve driver for Alpine in 2022 – will make his F1 debut, and Brown is confident that the youngster can deliver.

Brown: Piastri will be sensational racing driver

When asked in an interview for McLaren why the team had chosen to bring in a rookie to replace Ricciardo as Lando Norris' teammate, Brown explained: "We think Oscar is going to be a sensational racing driver. "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 credits racing background with helping driver selection

Having been a racing driver himself, Brown believes that this experience is beneficial when it comes to selecting who should race for the team. "I think it does [help], not only in choosing racing drivers but how to work with racing drivers," the McLaren CEO 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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