McLaren tout Ricciardo as F1 champion material after finally signing him for '21

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Daniel Ricciardo has the potential to win Formula 1 titles at McLaren providing he gets a good enough car, CEO Zak Brown claims.

After a disappointing first season at Renault, the Australian wasted little time in grabbing the opportunity to join the Woking-based team in 2021 following Carlos Sainz's move to Ferrari.

For McLaren, it was actually a case of second-time lucky in capturing Ricciardo, as Brown recalled the failed first attempt in 2018.

"Getting a Grand Prix winner like Daniel definitely is a sign that we are going in the right direction," he was quoted by

"He believes in that. We went after him a couple of years ago before he made the decision not to join us.

"I've talked to him about it since. What was...[the reason]? And he went 'Well, you were coming off a pretty poor season' - putting it politely - 'but also there was a lot of 'this is what we're going to do to rebuild the team'.

"I hadn't yet brought in [team boss] Andreas Seidl, [technical director] James Key, or restructured the leadership, so there were a lot of promises, and coming off such a bad season I could see how he would go, well...

"Now it's played out, he's seen the changes we've made, the leadership Andreas has brought and the backing we have from our shareholders, going to the Mercedes engine.

"We're a team on the move, and I think he's going to help get us to the next level."

Indeed, with McLaren harbouring ambitions of wins and championships with the new regulations from 2022 onwards, Brown believes Ricciardo is more than capable of achieving both.

“I think in the right car Daniel is capable of winning a championship immediately,” he told Sky Sports.

“He’s extremely marketable from a commercial standpoint, he’s a very exciting driver. I think the combination of he and Lando [Norris] will be awesome, and they’ll be kind of the fan favourites, on and off the track.”

And the McLaren CEO also quickly dispelled any concerns that Ricciardo and Norris could be a little too jokey together.

"They're both deadly serious in a race car, that's for sure," he said.

"Lando is excited. They're great personalities, fan favourites, so as a combination we have the most exciting driver line-up on and off the track for 2021.

"I think we have a great line-up for 2020, so we're all very laser-focused on getting back to racing this year, and we will get excited about '21 when we are done with '20."

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