Daniel Ricciardo agrees that 2022 F1 car is slightly easier to adapt and he is pushing to extract millisecond from it, as Andreas Seidl reckons he already took the step up last year.
Ricciardo moved from Renault to McLaren for the 2021 season. For the popular and ever smiling Aussie, it didn’t start off particularly well. In short, the early part of the season saw him trying to get into grips with the car with some disappointing results.
Points were scored but by contrast, his team-mate Lando Norris was the flip side of the coin with an impressive run of consistency in the early part of the season and he achieved the far superior results of the two. So while Norris’s stock rose, Ricciardo’s fortunes nosedived.
As it was subsequently discovered, Riccardo took a lot of time to get to grips with his new charge but in the end it all came good and he led Norris home in a 1-2 at Monza. This season, McLaren have started somewhat slowly with the new rules in place, 14th and 15th at Bahrain followed up by 7th for Norris and a DNF for Ricciardo.
Australia was far more impressive, quick in qualifying followed by 5th and 6th for the two drivers with the local hero finishing behind Norris. It would appear that this years car is easier to adapt to style wise compared to last season which Ricciardo doesn’t disagrees to. The Australian also agrees that he has to improve on his side too.
“I think yeah, a little bit, but I think even if the car was the same as last year, it would feel more natural, just from having a year under my belt with it,” said Ricciardo. “And everything feels more familiar. So I’d say it’s like, the characteristics of this year’s car are still in the same ballpark, if you will, but I do feel more comfortable.
“And I think that’s just with time. So do I feel I am getting every last millisecond out of it yet? Not often enough. So there’s definitely still room for improvement and things I want to keep getting better at behind the wheel. But yeah, in terms of like a confidence level it’s there. And yeah, I just obviously expect to keep getting better.
“But I don’t obviously want to wait too long. And obviously last year was a bit of a slow start. So yeah, I don’t expect that to be the case now,” summed up Ricciardo. With a further 20 scheduled races, it appears that he wants to adapt quicker than the 2021 season and that in itself will be quite the achievement compared to 12 months ago.
As it was, a strong second half of the season was a welcome sight for all to see for the popular Aussie. Team boss Seidl speaks in high praise of him, feeling due his second half season charge, there is little else to prove right now.
“From my point of view, he doesn’t need to make a step,” said Seidl. “He made a big step last year in the second half of the season, after the, let’s say, initial challenges simply to adapt our car and to the team. And now it was simply important over the winter to keep building on that foundation and momentum as well.
“He had a great start straightaway in this new car in Barcelona at the test, then obviously the COVID infection, missing the test didn’t help for the Bahrain race weekend. But in Jeddah he was fully back up to pace. It’s important for me to have two strong drivers, which we have, because that’s important for the fight you’re in the Constructors’ Championship,” summed up Seidl.
Two strong drivers who are universally popular. McLaren’s 2021 was a great year and the Woking based constructors target for this year will undoubtedly be more of the same and more over the next seven months.
Here’s Guenther Steiner’s response to Andreas Seidl
Here’s Daniel Ricciardo on team call in Aus GP