F1 news 2022: McLaren boss Zak Brown dodges questions about Daniel Ricciardo, Oscar Piastri, Japanese Grand Prix

McLaren chief executive Zak Brown has reportedly refused to answer questions about Australian F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo or new recruit Oscar Piastri while talking to the media at Bathurst this week.

Ricciardo was dumped by McLaren with 12 months remaining on his contract, with young compatriot Piastri replacing the 33-year-old on the F1 grid next year.

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The Perth native, currently without a seat for 2023, has been bitterly underwhelming since signing for the Woking-based team ahead of the 2021 season, registering one podium finish in almost two seasons.

Brown, part-owner of Supercars team Walkinshaw Andretti United, was in Australia ahead of the Bathurst 1000 race, but brushed away questions about Ricciardo and Piastri, according to The Herald Sun.

The McLaren boss, attending the Great Race for the first time since 2019, did however discuss the spending cap scandal that has dominated headlines over the past week.

F1 rivals Red Bull and Aston Martin allegedly breached the $222 million spending limit in 2021, and Brown called for swift and strict punishments from the FIA.

“I don’t know more than anyone else other than the certificates were supposed to be distributed on Wednesday and they’ve now been postponed to Monday, which means for some reason they’re not ready which you can, based on the speculation, assume a team or two haven’t complied,” he said.

“I don’t know that to be the case.

“The cost cap is critically important and we need to make sure it’s enforced if someone has breached that the appropriate penalties, not just financial, but specifically sporting and technical are put in place because if you bend the rules technically in sporting you get penalties and financial should be the same.

“Because if someone has over-spent that gives them an on-track unfair advantage and needs to be dealt with accordingly, firmly and quickly.”

Andreetti’s Chaz Mostert and Lee Holdsworth won last year’s race at Mount Panorama, but Brown missed the event due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

“This is my second time at Bathurst, first time in Australia in a few years since the pandemic,” he said.

“The biggest race of the year, we won it last year, got to watch it on TV, got the trophy but I want to come here and get on the podium.

“I’m excited to be here.

“I’m bummed I missed last year. I watched it the entire time.

“Bruce owes me a trophy, so in case he’s watching this, Bruce where’s my trophy?”

Meanwhile, the F1 season resumes this weekend with the Japanese Grand Prix, with lights out scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 4pm AEDT.

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