Ricciardo has time to grow with McLaren
By Mat Coch
Saturday 29th May, 2021 - 3:00pm
Daniel Ricciardo suggests his current Formula 1 contract with McLaren will afford him time to grow into the team without the need to panic early on.
Ricciardo joined McLaren for 2021 on a three-year deal after two seasons spent with Renault (now Alpine).
The Australian has suffered a difficult start to his time with the Woking squad, and finished outside of the points for the first time this season last weekend.
That came on a weekend where team-mate Lando Norris finished third, highlighting the current differences between the two drivers.
The McLaren MCL35M is a tricky car to drive, though when piloted correctly has shown itself to be rapid.
“Being with Red Bull for I think it was five seasons – testing my math, I think it was five seasons – and then going then to like two with Renault, I guess everything needs a bit of time, especially if you’re trying to help build something,” Ricciardo explained.
“Also, I’ve done a bit of musical chairs [in] the last the last few years and didn’t really appeal to me to be doing that too often.”
McLaren last year finished third in the constructors’ championship as it continues its resurgence from a turbulent period.
That was highlighted by a disastrous partnership with Honda and significant change to the team’s management.
A new deal with Mercedes for powertrains, a settled management structure, and investment being made off track, the team’s medium-term future looks positive.
“I believed in what I saw at McLaren, and it certainly gave me the confidence to go with a longer-term deal,” Ricciardo explained.
“I think it probably takes a little bit of pressure off as well.
“You don’t feel like you’re forced or rushed to set records from day one.
“Just having that foundation, knowing you’ve got time on your side to build and to build it right, that’s kind of where it came in for my process.”
After five races with McLaren, Ricciardo sits eighth in the drivers’ championship with 24 points.
Though he’s been heavily outscored by Norris thus far, it still marks his best start to an F1 season since his time with Red Bull.