Andreas Seidl and Daniel Ricciardo noted about scheduled chassis swap with Lando Norris, in the first half of the 2021 F1 season.
One of the biggest mysteries of 2021 so far is Ricciardo. The Australian has looked a mere shadow of the driver we’re used to thus far and McLaren have been trying everything to aid him in rediscovering that form in a car like that of the Woking-based outfit, that makes him one of the best drivers on the grid.
Earlier on, McLaren has noted about how the characteristics of their car makes it a bit tricky to drive initially, until one gets the knack of it. Amid some of the ideas, the team had a chassis swap in the first half between Ricciardo and Norris – more in the region of a scheduled swap, which also gave them some answers to multiple questions.
“I think we’ve done one swap this year or like one change” said Ricciardo when asked about whether chassis changes had taken place by media including FormulaRapida.net. “But yeah, maybe for the second half of the season we’ll, we could just, just for peace of mind, maybe maybe swap again. I shouldn’t be laughing. I don’t mean to laugh. I’m laughing through pain (he started laughing when speaking about it).”
Ricciardo, though, wasn’t keen to disclose when the swap took place “because it’ll create headlines”, something which will end up with more talk without real data in the open space. Perhaps he desires the re-swap for peace of mind to prove that it was indeed the chassis that made the difference.
Ricciardo knows the season is not going his way, nevertheless, he is keen to avoid putting too much pressure on the team as he knows that ultimately it’s down to him to sync with his McLaren. “I mean that sort of stuff I guess I like obviously put my trust in the team to like check everything over and I think when the season’s not going great, I don’t want to be like ‘oh change this, change that, turn everything upside down,” he said.
He’s trying to avoid blaming the car, but everyone knows how good of a driver he is, the car plays a part for sure. It’s a new car for him, a new team, it’s just a case of him needing that extra adjustment period. The team are of course working in conjunction with Ricciardo to do everything they can to nurture the Australian into feeling comfortable with the car and back to his best.
“I think they’re doing their full analysis and if they feel the need to change say the chassis or something I’ll obviously trust that they’ll do it but yeah I don’t want to kind of like just throw everything out at them and come across as like making excuses or anything like that,” said Ricciardo. Being the elite driver he is, he knows making excuses is not a good road to go down.
Ultimately the McLaren car is a long way adrift of his driving style and it’s taking extra time for the two to merge into a place where he can get the maximum from what is a very competitive car, as teammate Norris is demonstrating on a regular basis. Team principal Seidl, meanwhile, agrees with Ricciardo that “the story of the chassis doesn’t work for you guys” – in terms of headlines – but when asked about it, he revealed that it is, “as part of our, would say, programme how we use our parts there is a scheduled rotation of monocoques as well and on Daniel’s side we already changed two times this year.”
So regardless of Ricciardo’s performance it seems chassis changes were inevitable and therefore convenient for Ricciardo in his attempt to find pace. “We clearly see what the issues are that Daniel is also describing but there’s nothing to do with parts and so on, has to do with characteristics of our car and in the end it’s a combination of Daniel still getting used to our car,” summed up Seidl.
We know this because Seidl has said in the past that the McLaren car is contrary to the Aussie’s driving style which makes it extra difficult for him to drive and adjust to. But it is clear the two are working hard to find solutions. Ricciardo has said he doesn’t expect too much progress on his side in the second half of the season which is a shame for him to say so early on.
The problems he’s having are significant and a chassis change is something teams regularly do when faced with a situation like this or similar. We’ve seen the likes of Alpine, Mercedes and Aston Martin do the same this season. It seems Ricciardo will need whole season to transition into the McLaren but come 2022 there will be no excuses.
The story was written by Ollie Pattas
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Here’s Lando Norris on having the best run of his career
Here’s McLaren detailing on Daniel Ricciardo’s troubles