McLaren identifies reason for Daniel Ricciardo's F1 struggle

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Daniel Ricciardo has struggled for pace in his first F1 season with McLaren.
McLaren believe they know the characteristics of their F1 that are proving to be the most difficult for Daniel Ricciardo to overcome. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

It's been no secret that Daniel Ricciardo has found his McLaren to be a bit of a handful in his first season with the historic F1 team.

Though the Australian driver has had his moments, Ricciardo has been outpointed by young British teammate Lando Norris, who is third in the drivers' standings.

INTERESTING: Family friend exposes 'consequences' of Schumacher mystery

'NEVER SEEN THAT': Viewers in shock after 'scary' MotoGP fireball crash

McLaren have already admitted their 2021 car needs to be driven a certain way to extract maximum performance - with the incumbent Norris benefiting from two prior seasons coming to grips with the car.

Ricciardo hasn't had the luxury of familiarity, and has spent much of the first half of the season attempting to adapt his own style to the demands of the MCL35M.

However, high ranking team engineer Andreas Stella believes they have figured out the exact characteristics of the car that Ricciardo needs to get a hold of.

Stella believes drastically less time to test the car, combined with the team figuring out a new power unit and different downforce regulations in 2021 had added up to make Ricciardo's job even more difficult than before.

“What is McLaren specific is that our car clearly is on one side of this typical split of characteristics that you can achieve,” he said.

“He came from the opposite end in terms of how you would like to drive an F1 car.

“Our car requires some special adaptation, let’s say.

“I think it’s no secret that our car is good in high-speed corners for example. It may not be the best car when you have to roll speed in the corner, as another example.

“He is a driver who likes to roll the speed in the corner, not necessarily attack the braking, as much as our car requires.

“And I think we understood very quickly, what the issue was in terms of exploiting all the speed.”

McLaren's Lando Norris unable to assist with Ricciardo struggles

There are just 12 races left to run this season when the F1 season resumes at the Belgian Grand Prix on August 29, leaving Ricciardo with limited time to extract more from the McLaren.

While Ricciardo can point to some bad luck for his lower than expected points tally, Norris has simply had more pace, more consistently throughout the season.

The McLaren engineers have admitted their car needs to be driven a certain way to extract the best out of it, Norris said at this point there was little more he could do to help Ricciardo get up to speed.

“I don’t know where else I can help,” Norris told Motorsport-Total.com.

“I tell him what I feel, he has all my data, he can see everything I do, I describe things very well in the debriefings and what I do.

“I’m not going to lie, but at the end of the day it’s not up to me.”

Daniel Ricciardo has struggled in his first season with McLaren. (Photo by Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
Daniel Ricciardo has struggled in his first season with McLaren. (Photo by Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Earlier in the season, Ricciardo joked about an encounter in the paddock with his McLaren predecessor Carlos Sainz, now at Ferrari.

“I bumped into Carlos, I don’t know when it was, not too long ago and he said, ‘What do you think? Strange huh?’,” Ricciardo said leading up to the Monaco GP in May.

“I was like, ‘Thanks for telling me’.”

Ricciardo needs to start bringing home more points as McLaren looks to beat heated rival Ferrari to third place in the constructors' championship.

McLaren broke through after several years mired in the midfield to claim third in the 2020 championship, aided by a lacklustre Ferrari team hindered by an underpowered engine.

Watch 'Mind Games', the new series from Yahoo Sport Australia exploring the often brutal mental toil elite athletes go through in pursuit of greatness:

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting