Ricciardo struggles ‘a two-way street’
By Mat Coch
Wednesday 14th July, 2021 - 8:33am
Daniel Ricciardo has explained that McLaren is working to develop the MCL35M to better suit him as much as he is working to adapt to the car.
The Australian has struggled by comparison to his McLaren team-mate this season, with less than half the points of Lando Norris after nine races.
Norris sits fourth in the drivers’ championship with three podiums to his name, while the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix winner is just eighth with three sixth placed finishes his best to date.
Ricciardo has admitted that he’s struggled to adapt to the McLaren, which is regarded as being a tricky car to master.
However, the 32-year-old has noted that the team is looking to meet him as close to halfway as practical.
“With the car, there’s certainly things that I’m trying to adapt a little bit to suit the car at the moment,” he explained.
“I’m still working on some areas where I can improve with what I’ve got, but I’m also not being steered away from the feedback I need to give to help the car as well and try to give the team the info that they can then obviously design or build the car that then suits my driving style, and maybe work to my strengths.”
The team is limited for now in terms of what it can do much beyond basic setup work, with cost cap regulations in place and sweeping new technical regulations set to be introduced next year.
Development on the 2021 car has therefore all but ceased, but even prior to that there was little incentive to invest in major componentry as there is little to not carry over for 2022.
Speaking over the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, Seidl acknowledged that there was limited scope for the team to introduce developments to expedite Ricciardo’s return to form.
“There’s obviously always possibilities on the setup side also to explore new directions to see if that could help him to make it feel more natural also in short term,” the German explained at the time.
“Our car needs a certain way of driving it in order to extract the performance that Lando can extract from it,” he added.
“This is not natural for Daniel, and that’s obviously an issue and takes time until you can recalibrate yourself in order to make it natural for yourself.
“But at the same time, it’s also the task on our side, on the team side, to see what we can do on the car to change it in order to make it more natural for him, so that he can extract the performance we’re already used to from him again with a clear objective obviously to not lose overall core performance.
“That’s the process we are in at the moment.”
That’s a point acknowledged by Ricciardo, though he remains realistic enough to understand that there is a limit to how much the car will change this season.
“Obviously, it’s a bit of a compromise for now and trying to do what I can with what we got, and obviously learn there,” he said.
“But then [I] keep feeding them information to improve, let’s say the overall package.
“It’s definitely a two-way street for now but obviously the car is not going to change overnight, and there’s things which I’m working on there.”
Formula 1 is back in action this weekend with the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.