F1 2021 | Mark Webber expects Daniel Ricciardo to overcome McLaren struggles

38ac7253 5bff 45a4 9306 ad127ca564e7
38ac7253 5bff 45a4 9306 ad127ca564e7

Learn how to bring any battery back to life again

Mark Webber says he’ll be “highly surprised” if Daniel Ricciardo is unable to overcome the problems he’s currently facing adapting to his McLaren.

Ricciardo has struggled through the 2021 season since joining McLaren from Renault (now Alpine), consistently off the pace of teammate Lando Norris.

It’s been a constant source of frustration for Ricciardo and the first time in his career that he’s been so far behind his teammate on outright speed.

The Australian hasn’t recorded a single top-five finish in nine races this year. Norris, by contrast, has been in the top-five eight times, including three podiums, as well as qualifying on the front row in Austria.

Ricciardo has previously spoke about his difficulty adapting to the braking characteristics of the car, with Webber noting that that’s just about the worst problem for a driver to have.

“It’s been a challenging time for him. I’m not a gambling man, but if I was I would have lost my $5 on Daniel’s results this year,” Webber told Wide World of Sports.

“He just can’t get on top of the car right now, particularly the entry to the corners and that is 80 per cent of our job. It’s like the backswing for a golfer, or footwork for a cricketer.

“Entry to the corner is everything, he just can’t get that dialled in and the rest of the corner is really challenging.”

Ricciardo has at least not been guilty of over-driving the car while he adapts, having had only one serious crash – when he hit the wall in qualifying in Azerbaijan – and finishing every race of the season so far.

“He’s not really making any errors but outright speed, he just can’t turn it on at the moment,” Webber said.

“But there’s too much class for this too go on for too long. He’ll get on top of it.

“We talk about MMI – Man Machine Interface – he’s going to have to work harder. The only way is forward.

“But he’ll get it sorted, I’ll be highly, highly surprised if he doesn’t.”

Webber pointed out that with the technical regulations changing significantly for 2022, the new cars will be expected to generate their lap times in a different way to this year’s cars.

That’s likely to be good news for Ricciardo, with the 2022 cars unlikely to carry over the characteristics that have troubled him so much this season.

Webber also praised the performances of Norris, who has delivered solid points in every race this season. The Australian said the 21-year-old will be a serious contender for many years, alongside Charles Leclerc, George Russell and, of course, Max Verstappen, who are all 23 years-old.

“The future of the sport is very bright with those guys all around the same age,” Webber said.

Not so bright is the future of the Australian Grand Prix, which last week was cancelled for a second straight year.

Originally moved from March to November, the event has now been called off altogether, with attention now turning to a possible race in April next year.

It joins races in Singapore and Canada which have been unable to go ahead during the pandemic, although Webber points out many European countries have been able to host races without incident.

“It is a big blow,” Webber said.

“It would have been brilliant to have an event down there in Melbourne, after the cancellation in 2020. When it was postponed earlier this year, everyone thought it would be safe to go for a date in November.

“It’s tough, there’s been about 30 races since we left Australia in March last year, F1 are doing an exceptional job.

“It’s been a phenomenal effort from everybody involved in the industry, it’s been really special.

“The Grand Prix people in Melbourne did everything they could but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough.”

Melbourne has a contract to host a Formula One race through until 2025 and Webber believes F1 will be keen to return, despite what he calls “hiccups” of the last two years.

“I think the dialogue is still healthy, obviously we have one of the best events in the world, if not the best. That’s why it’s tough to see the race cancelled,” he said.

“Obviously governments come and go, the current government is pretty supportive of the event, but obviously not to the final bridge we expected to cross.

“We’ll try and go again next year.”

For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!

Learn how to bring any battery back to life again

Source link

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*