While McLaren’s confidence does not seem to be broken, at least seriously damaged by him, Daniel Ricciardo may have only himself to blame: because since his arrival in Woking, Lando Norris has quickly and consistently beaten him in the orange auto.
However, if his delay in the 2021 car (with the old regulations) is forgiven, it is not very understandable to see Daniel Ricciardo so far behind Lando Norris, with this new aerodynamic regulation in 2022. he should act as a ‘reset’…
Isn’t the Australian disappointed in himself? Isn’t he expecting too much from this new regulation?
“Yes, but – and maybe it has experience now – I’m always careful about what to expect, or what to expect or ask for. We never know. »
“This is the case when we receive evolutions. If they say ‘that will add three tenths’, I say… let’s see that in the circuit.
“Even if the team says we have an improvement this weekend worth a second, I will not be happy until the clock says it. And obviously, I have nothing against the team; I just think it’s important not to have too many expectations in this game, or not to fly too high, because F1 will definitely let you down quickly. »
Always taking the example of his victory in Monza at the start of the second half of the season last year, Daniel Ricciardo does not want to lose hope: what if the best is yet to come for him in 2022?
“It’s exciting (to have a reset), but I also look at the second half of last year and, although it’s not the best second half of the year I’ve had, it’s better than first. I built a little momentum in this car, so I also thought, ‘if the rules don’t change, I think I’m in a good position to start the second season now’. »
The need for a break
Could the summer break, before the F1 resumption in Spa, also act as the ‘reset’ that Daniel Ricciardo needs?
The McLaren driver uses strong terms, especially in reference to the end of 2021…
“Twelve months ago, I admitted him [la pause estivale] almost screamed. I had to rest, to escape from all this, because I was in a difficult place, without much on the other side, so I knew it was good for me. »
“I wouldn’t say I’m asking for it now. You can say it’s the same as last year, but I didn’t let myself down. »
“That said, I still understand the value of a break and I still want one. I still think it’s good for me – and probably for most people in the paddock. But yes, last year was something that’s non-negotiable; it’s like ‘I need this fucking break’, when am I going to take it. »
Daniel Ricciardo also remains confident of his team’s ability to improve – while his needs are now better known.
“Last year at this time everybody was probably more confused, and that’s because … the truth is, they expected me to join the team and kick ass and kick everybody’s ass. So there’s probably still some confusion, like, ‘Hmmm, what happened?’ »
“And that’s probably ahead of what should happen – I’m just thinking, but maybe a lot of energy is put into the whys and this and that before asking, ‘What do we do? better? »
“But this year there is more understanding and they know me now after a year, so it’s very clear what I want in a car, and even I know that. So when I’m struggling, the team said, ‘Oh, I can see it in the data, that’s how Daniel feels and he’s proven over the last 18 months that’s what he doesn’t want to feel. That’s what keeps him from pushing the car to its limits, that place.” »
“So in terms of development, in some tools – in the buttons on the steering wheel, the diversity and those things – we can play and have a little clear direction about that. This is where I feel that we know more about what I need; the path to get there is clearer. Last year, it was always like, “F***, what is this? What is stopping him? Why isn’t he running?”
But if he still fails to perform in the second half of the season, will Daniel Ricciardo understand that McLaren has dismissed him? Will he agree to play in his skin at the next Grands Prix?
“Obviously I won a race less than a year ago and people were saying [désormais] “Ah, this man is no longer good for Formula 1”. It just goes to show that you have to be there all the time, and you can’t give people a reason to write something or have an opinion. »
“But it is what it is. I know it’s the nature of trying to be the best in the world at something and that comes with it, so I accept that. Of course, sometimes you have to do things like issue a statement to try to silence some of the noise. »
Ricciardo just did by remembering that he has a contract for 2023…