Daniel Ricciardo believes that McLaren can win races and be a contender for the world championship in the future.
By DAN KNUTSON
After four years with Red Bull, the Aussie spent the past two seasons driving for Renault. Now he has switched to McLaren where he has a three-year contract. Is he confident that he made the right decision?
“We don’t have a crystal ball,” Ricciardo said during a Zoom call with select F1 media including Auto Action.
“Leaving Red Bull or leaving Renault, it’s obviously what I felt was right. Do I know 100 per cent how it’s going to turn out? I don’t. But I certainly feel like McLaren has done the right things, particularly in the last few years, to set themselves up, for in particular, let’s say these rule changes coming in 2022.”
“That kind of next era of F1 has the ability to certainly turn the field around a little bit.”
Ricciardo had talks with McLaren several years ago but decided at that time that Renault was the better option. But he now believes that the changes made at McLaren will create a winning team.
Three of those differences are people who joined the team since Ricciardo last had negotiations: CEO Zak Brown, team principal Andreas Seidl and technical director James Key.
“Everything I’ve seen and everything I’ve known up until now certainly excites me about where McLaren is heading,” Ricciardo said.
“So it’s really that more than anything. I really do believe in the personnel. I like Zak. I do believe Andreas is a massive asset for the team. I think Andreas is really helping steer this ship in the right direction.”
“James as well, I got to work with James in 2013 at Toro Rosso, and that was fairly short-lived, by that summer I was already going to Red Bull. So looking forward to getting to work with him again. They (McLaren) have got more backing as well from the end of last year, some more investment. They’re expanding. I think they’re doing what it takes to be a real contender in the championship. Let’s do it!”
Ricciardo had two third-place finishes last year.
“I certainly have the ambition to be on the podium again and for my first time with McLaren,” he said. “I think because the team achieved this last year, in my head I say ‘okay we can achieve it again this year.’ I think if we continue, and I put the work in, for sure there’s a good opportunity.”
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Date posted: February 16, 2021