Ricciardo: Modern F1 much the same as Senna’s era

Ricciardo at the wheel of Senna’s McLaren, followed by Jackie Stewart’s 1973 championship-winning Tyrrell 004. Picture: Simon Hildrew

Daniel Ricciardo suggests modern racing cars share much in common with those of the past despite advancements in technology.

The Australian recently took the wheel of a McLaren MP4/5B, the car driven to the 1990 world championship by Ayrton Senna, at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

But while the differences between Senna’s title winner and the MCL35M Ricciardo is piloting this season are stark, there are core similarities.

“Yes, they’ve changed, but also the basic fundamentals of a race car are still very much the same,” he reasoned.

“The core of motor racing is the steering, the pedals and the speed.

“So I guess the core of the sport, I would imagine, is still very much the same and probably bigger influx of technology and whatnot.”

Formula 1 next year introduces significant new aerodynamic rules, with a new engine formula to follow for 2025.

Beyond that, there has been some consideration put into where F1 will move and be positioned over the coming decades at a time when the automotive industry is undergoing a seismic shift.

Greater emphasis than ever has been placed on sustainability and becoming carbon neutral, with some manufacturers pushing biofuel and others alternate power.

With F1 widely seen as the bleeding edge of automotive technology, it raises the question over just where the sport will be in another few decades, especially with the rise in automation.

“Hopefully there’s still steering wheels and not joysticks, or someone else doing it for us, like an AI or something,” Ricciardo said.

“I don’t know, but hopefully it’s still true to its core.

“I mean, I’m glad we have paddle-shift these days,” he added.

“I think, H-pattern, as fun as it is, I was pretty terrible at it, so that’s helped me have a longer career in racing!”

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