McLaren came close to signing Ricciardo - Zak Brown
Daniel Ricciardo announced a switch to Renault for the 2019 season on Friday, ending his time at Red Bull, but McLaren boss Zak Brown believes his team came close to luring the Australian to Woking.
Ricciardo's shock move to Renault came out of the blue as many believed he would agree a new deal with Red Bull, whilst only Ferrari and McLaren, however unlikely, were mentioned as possible alternatives.
Brown admitted McLaren held discussions with Ricciardo about replacing either Fernando Alonso or Stoffel Vandoorne and believes they came close to a deal.
"We had a couple of meetings and we are big fans of Daniel,” Brown told Racer. "I think he’s a great guy, I think he’s a great race driver. How close we came to getting him, I think only Daniel knows the answer to that question.
"Had we been running more competitively I think that would have increased our odds.
"I think he had a strong desire to leave and I think it was probably pretty close between us and Renault, but ultimately Daniel would be best to tell you how close. But he was certainly someone that we rate very highly."
Ricciardo's move has thrown silly season into a higher gear with many guessing what will happen next, but Brown insisted it wouldn't change McLaren's plans.
"I think it’s thrown a spanner in the works for some other teams but we’ve got a plan which we are executing against which Ricciardo’s move doesn’t impact," he added.