APRIL 5, 2022
F1 shouldn't write off Ricciardo says Marko
Formula 1 should not "write off" Daniel Ricciardo, according to Red Bull driver mogul Dr Helmut Marko.
This week, as the sport finally returns to Australia, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner reveals that the 32-year-old rejected a "stratospheric" offer to remain Max Verstappen's teammate beyond 2018.
Instead, Ricciardo went to Renault and then McLaren, and in the last couple of seasons has looked off the pace of his young teammate Lando Norris.
"Daniel still seems to be having a hard time at McLaren," Marko told Sport1.
"But writing him off would be a mistake. We know what he can do.
"And not just because he looked strong against Vettel in 2014, but because no one else here has been on par with Max Verstappen. And it wasn't that long ago.
"I wish him success," 78-year-old Marko concluded, "but it's enough if he finishes third behind our two drivers."
The pressure was on Ricciardo for a big improvement in 2022, but McLaren boss Andreas Seidl says the team's focus for the moment is on improving the car.
"Our problem is the car, not the drivers," said the German.
The situation may be alarming for Ricciardo, but perhaps even more so for 22-year-old Norris - who recently extended his McLaren deal until the end of 2025.
"I can't understand why he would commit for so long," 2009 world champion Jenson Button told Sky.
"I just don't see the point. He must know that he will still be a sought-after driver in two years' time."