Zak Brown says he is proud there was no “bad blood” between his McLaren Formula 1 team and Carlos Sainz during their split, unlike in other driver movements for 2021.

Ferrari announced the capture on Sainz on Thursday to replace the departing Sebastian Vettel from 2021, while McLaren moved to sign Daniel Ricciardo from Renault.

Ricciardo’s exit from Renault was met by a thinly-veiled dig from team principal Cyril Abiteboul, who pointed towards a lack of loyalty from the Australian after only making the switch to Enstone from Red Bull at the end of 2018.

But Brown insisted there was no such animosity surrounding Sainz’s departure because McLaren had given the Spaniard permission to speak to Ferrari once the Italian outfit had already identified him as the ideal successor to Vettel over the winter.

"Carlos and I spoke about it, so it wasn't hearing stuff through the grapevine," Brown told Sky F1.

"I think how the majority of these driver movements happen is everyone is sneaking around the back of the motorhome, trying to have secret dates.

"I think McLaren has a bit of a different philosophy on our relationships with our people, including our drivers.

"It was a conversation that Carlos had with Andreas [Seidl] and I over the winter. We actually had to give him permission to go speak with Ferrari, and we gave him that permission, so it was very above board.

“I think you can see [that] by the way we’re eventually going to part. “He did a great video, which we didn’t even know he was doing, that’s something he did on his own.

“So I think there’s a real affection for the Sainz family and McLaren and always will be,” he added. “And I think it’s great to see that drivers and teams can separate and there not be animosity.

“Because I think if you look at some of the other movements, it looks like unfortunately there’s some bad blood – yet those people still need to race together this year. So I’m quite proud of how we’ve handled it.”

Sainz will partner Charles Leclerc at the Scuderia on a two-year deal after his current contract expires at the end of the 2020 campaign.

 

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