Ricciardo safe but McLaren rumours rumble on

McLaren CEO Zak Brown says Daniel Ricciardo will still be with the team in 2023 – but even so, the rumours continue to rumble.

The latest official news is that Indycar driver and Brown’s fellow American Colton Herta, who drives for the Andretti team, will test a McLaren in Portugal this week.

“We will be interested to see how he adapts to a Formula 1 car,” McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl said of the 22-year-old, whose father Bryan was also an Indycar driver.

Herta came tantalisingly close to making his Formula 1 debut this year as part of Andretti’s ultimately failed bid to take over the Sauber team.

“I believed I was going (to F1), and I thought it was almost for sure,” he said recently.

Some now believe Herta is a frontrunner to replace struggling Australian Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren next year, with Oscar Piastri’s Mark Webber-led management also reportedly eyeing the Woking based team.

Zak Brown, however, denies that all the rumours were triggered by his recent outspoken criticism of Ricciardo’s performance, including the admission that there may be “mechanisms” to end his 2023 deal.

“What I said about Daniel’s performances did not cause any problems in the team, although it did bring a lot of rumours from the outside,” he is quoted by Soy Motor.

“But we have a great relationship with Dan and we are constantly texting one another. He will be with us next year and we will do our best to get him back in shape.

“We know that he is capable of bringing us race wins,” Brown added.

“Everything will depend on the car that we give him, but our requirements are extremely clear – to be at the level of Lando Norris.”

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