Ricciardo win 'definitely my proudest day'

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What does champagne sensation similar erstwhile chugged from a soiled shoe?

Zak Brown doesn't cognize the reply to the question he's been asked successful the week since McLaren broke a nine-year Formula One losing streak with a 1-2 expanse successful Italy. Daniel Ricciardo celebrates his victories with a "shoey" — utilizing his racing footwear arsenic a champagne solid during the podium presentation.

Brown, the 49-year-old American successful complaint of McLaren Racing since 2018, was not going to miss a shoey. So helium tilted his caput backmost and fto Ricciardo drain his footwear into Brown's wide-open rima arsenic runner-up Lando Norris egged connected the dousing of the boss.

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"It was similar being deed by a wave, and you are stuck nether the wave, that's benignant of what it felt like, and we were having truthful overmuch fun. We were similar 3 12-year-olds up connected a podium," Brown said. "But what does champagne sensation similar retired of a shoe? I don't remember. What I bash retrieve is that it was decidedly my proudest time successful centrifugal racing."

Seven days aft the McLaren breakthrough triumph successful the Italian Grand Prix, Brown was backmost successful his autochthonal California to ticker Pato O'Ward contention for the IndyCar championship. His bureau astatine Laguna Seca was a 1972 Ford Condor RV perched supra Turn 4, a shiny reddish McLaren GT parked extracurricular the 28-foot Papaya Orange sleeper that Brown won successful an online auction.

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He utilized a proxy to drawback this racing memorabilia — it had been McLaren's trackside enactment bureau successful the 1970s — and chap bidders connected bringatrailer.com couldn't cognize the contention was the existent McLaren CEO trying to reclaim a portion of squad history.

He received the Condor successful its archetypal form, its wood-paneled walls, greenish upholstery and carpet and 1970s vibe untouched to this day. It's a root of large pridefulness for Brown erstwhile helium takes meetings sitting close wherever Bruce McLaren oregon James Hunt oregon Peter Revson had erstwhile been. When Brown hosted Roger Penske successful the Condor astatine Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Penske remembered galore of the features successful the RV he'd visited decades earlier.

MONZA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 12: Race victor Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and McLaren F1, 2nd placed Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren F1 and McLaren Chief Executive Officer Zak Brown observe connected the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Italy astatine Autodromo di Monza connected September 12, 2021 successful Monza, Italy. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images) (Getty)

Brown sat with The Associated Press successful the Condor up of Sunday's IndyCar contention discussing his chaotic thrust from wannabe racer to savvy centrifugal sports enforcement and present the American who has crashed the stuffy F1 satellite with large expectations.

He took implicit McLaren with a five-year program to instrumentality the squad to a competitory level and Ricciardo's triumph is simply a twelvemonth up of schedule. Brown astatine the aforesaid clip was inching McLaren toward a instrumentality to the IndyCar Series aft a 40-year absence.

McLaren's eventual successful was arsenic a commercialized spouse with an existing squad founded by Sam Schmidt. But successful 2 seasons, the squad has made tremendous maturation and McLaren volition beryllium the bulk proprietor of Arrow McLaren SP successful November. The squad volition grow to 3 cars successful 2023, with the 3rd car to debut successful the 2nd fractional of adjacent season. Brown is already looking astatine drivers and seems to beryllium leaning toward a newcomer due to the fact that he'd similar idiosyncratic disposable for astatine slightest 5 years.

Daniel Ricciardo celebrating his Italian Grand Prix victory. (Getty)

With McLaren's fingerprints each implicit the IndyCar organisation, a squad that has ne'er earlier challenged for a title heads into Sunday's finale astatine Long Beach with O'Ward 2nd successful the standings. The 22-year-old Mexican volition request a superb time to overtake 24-year-old Alex Palou of Spain, who drives for Brown's rival Chip Ganassi.

O'Ward seemed up for the situation adjacent aft Palou padded his points pb astatine Laguna Seca. Palou and O'Ward ran 2-3 for a agelong long of the contention but a precocious slice dropped O'Ward to 5th and he's 35 points down the title leader.

"I deliberation I'm beauteous useful astir a thoroughfare course," O'Ward said. "All I tin bash is conscionable nonstop it successful Long Beach."

Mclaren operator Daniel Ricciardo of Australia celebrates aft winning the Italian Formula One Grand Prix, astatine Monza racetrack, successful Monza, Italy, Sunday, Sept.12, 2021. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni) (AP)

Brown loves that attitude. He loves O'Ward, and Ricciardo and Norris and Felix Rosenqvist and the full McLaren racing family. He's emboldened his unit to instrumentality an edgier attack successful selling its stars and reaching for a younger demographic; erstwhile Brown was a child, helium said, helium couldn't get capable accusation astir his heroes.

Brown and McLaren person been a large portion successful F1 expanding its audience.

The squad is featured successful the fashionable Netflix "Drive To Survive" docuseries and American teenagers person gone gaga for the 21-year-old Norris, a Brit that Brown told AP is "definitely a world-championship calibre operator if helium was successful a world-championship car."

Brown tries to support the temper airy and piques his drivers with his heavy toolbox of resources. He promised O'Ward a trial successful a Formula One car erstwhile helium won his archetypal contention and it is scheduled for November; Ricciardo, a diehard instrumentality of the precocious Dale Earnhardt, volition get to thrust Earnhardt's 1984 No.3 Chevrolet Monte Carlo that conscionable happens to beryllium successful Brown's collection.

Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris finished 1-2 for McLaren astatine the Italian Grand Prix. (Getty)

The McLaren on-track gains are a precocious constituent for the full organisation, but it is different statistic that Brown chose to explicate the McLaren atmosphere. Data released by Formula One, Brown said, showed McLaren is "the slightest disliked team, and we were successful the apical 3 liked teams."

"I'd emotion for everyone to person McLaren beryllium their favourite team, but we tin instrumentality not being disliked," helium said.

His benignant was forged connected his ascent from a broke aspiring operator crashing connected couches to the slick salesman delivering eight-figure sponsorship deals to NASCAR teams. He is present an enforcement astatine the apical levels of racing. Brown runs teams successful six antithetic bid crossed the globe, inactive races successful humanities and vintage events, and spends astir 50 weekends a twelvemonth astatine a track.

A jubilant Daniel Ricciardo aft taking triumph successful Monza. (Getty)

His drivers — Ricciardo astatine 32 is the oldest but astir apt has the biggest property — each find Brown relatable.

"He has a truly bully knowing of who I americium arsenic a operator and however I am, and helium ne'er says, 'Do this oregon bash that.' He lets maine bash my thing," O'Ward said. "He's not conscionable my boss, I truly consciousness similar he's a adjacent person to me. And I tin speech to him similar that, it's truthful antithetic from however you'd usually beryllium reserved with idiosyncratic truthful precocious up the ladder."

Brown's "number 1 ingredient" for creating a palmy workplace is simple: fun. It's a request for moving astatine McLaren.

"I deliberation if you person amusive past radical bask what they bash and they enactment good unneurotic and they're unfastened and they're honorable and they enactment ace hard," Brown said. "And I similar to person fun. And I similar to win. If we tin bash some of those things astatine the aforesaid time, that's a bully day."

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