McLaren have outlined the qualities and skills that Daniel Ricciardo brought to the team, despite his struggles during his two-year stint at the squad.
It was confirmed in August that Ricciardo and McLaren had mutually agreed to terminate his multi-year contract early, resulting in the partnership coming to an end at the close of the 2022 F1 season.
Ricciardo has been left without a seat on the grid in 2023, and will instead take up a reserve driver role at Red Bull.
Despite enduring a difficult time at McLaren, the squad have revealed that there were aspects of Ricciardo's approach that they "appreciated immensely".
Ricciardo's technical skills praised
James Key – Technical Director at McLaren, who previously worked with Ricciardo in the junior days of his F1 career – believes that the eight-time race winner has brought a good technical reference to the team.
"I worked with him 10 years ago, when he was probably at Lando [Norris'] stage in his career, and he's always been good technically," Key told media, including RacingNews365.com.
"I think he brought us that second reference point, from someone who could feel a car and what was going on, so he brought that experience.
"He obviously brought reference points from other teams, which, obviously, Lando doesn't – he's grown up in McLaren. So we had that reference point from Daniel."
Key also believes that the level of experience acquired by Ricciardo – who took a victory for McLaren at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix – helped him to stay motivated and determined.
"He brought us a race win, and I honestly think that that determination we've seen in him before and seeing where he was on the grid, and his experience of doing that, really helped him to carry it off and get to the end and have that belief in himself," Key added.
"We can't forget that his experience plays its role, I think in Monza as well.
"But otherwise, [he brought] just what you'd expect from a driver of that level and that experience and having previous race wins, so it just added to the already good information we were getting from Lando."
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McLaren appreciated Ricciardo's attitude during struggles
McLaren's Executive Racing Director, Andrea Stella, credited Ricciardo for his positive attitude during his tough times with the team.
"One point I would highlight from a racing point of view, is that he also brought us some elements of approach [that] we appreciated immensely," Stella explained.
"That is, he stayed calm. He was collaborative, positive, constructive, even during the struggle, even in difficult weekends.
"We have seen previously – not necessarily at McLaren – but these situations can become quite difficult. Environmentally, they can just take negative spirals.
"That never happened, so we are very appreciative [of that]."
Stella feels that this quality of Ricciardo's enabled both sides to maintain a "positive process".
"This also meant that, from the difficulties, we gained technical knowledge, driving knowledge," he continued.
"Because, rather than becoming immediately difficult conversations, there were conversations where we could go to the bottom of what we see in the data, what was his feeling.
"So I think that was an extremely positive process, from which everyone learned as to what is the ethos, what is the emotional approach to your job and to human interactions."
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