Chassis not a factor in Ricciardo woes

Daniel Ricciardo

McLaren has declared Daniel Ricciardo’s struggles are unrelated to the chassis he’s been driving during the 2021 Formula 1 season.

Ricciardo has been outperformed by team-mate Lando Norris in almost every session of the year, with both he and the team claiming it’s simply a case of learning and adapting to the car.

Team boss Andreas Seidl has revealed that the Australian has had multiple monocoques throughout the season, cutting off suggestions he may have been using a faulty chassis.

At Alpine, a new chassis together with other components have transformed Esteban Ocon’s campaign.

The Hungarian Grand Prix winner had fallen into a form slump before a dramatic change saw a turnaround in performance at the British Grand Prix.

There is no such miracle cure for Ricciardo.

“I think we’ve done one swap this year, or one change,” explained Seidl.

“I don’t want to say when it was because it’ll create headlines, but I think I know when we swapped.”

According to Seidl, the seven-time grand prix winner has in fact had multiple chassis.

“As part of our normal, let’s say programme, how we use our parts, there is a scheduled rotation of monocoques,” the German said.

“On Daniel’s side, we already changed two times this year.

“But again, there’s nothing on the monocoque side; we clearly see what the issues are that Daniel is also describing, that has nothing to do with parts and so on.

“It has to do with characteristics of our car, and in the end, it’s a combination of Daniel still getting used to our car but at the same time, he also has a team-mate that is in an unbelievable form.

“That’s where we see this gap from time to time.”

McLaren’s racing director, Andrea Stella, has explained that Ricciardo’s natural driving style is simply unsuited to the McLaren MCL35M.

Where the car needs to be driven hard into the corners, the 32-year-old naturally tries to carry speed through the mid-corner.

As a result, neither Ricciardo nor the car are able to exploit their respective strengths.

“That sort of stuff, I obviously put my trust in the team to check everything over,” Ricciardo said of the chassis changes he’s had this year.

“I think, you know, when the season’s not going great, I don’t want to be like ‘oh, change this, change that’ and turn everything upside down.

“I think they’re doing the full analysis and if they feel the need to change, say, chassis or something, I obviously trust that they’ll do it.

“But I don’t want to just throw everything at it and come across as like [I’m] making excuses or anything like that.”

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