Daniel Ricciardo wants one key change before brutal ‘sh*t’ verdict is rubber-stamped

Michelle Foster
RB driver Daniel Ricciardo against the blue sky backdrop in Melbourne.

RB driver Daniel Ricciardo.

Adamant he is not drowning in the same pool of uncertainty that marred his McLaren years, Daniel Ricciardo has already addressed getting a new chassis from RB if his struggles continue.

Only after that can judgement be passed on his form.

Daniel Ricciardo: This is not a McLaren situation

Retained by Red Bull’s junior team for his first full season since his McLaren exit in 2022, Ricciardo has yet to score a point.

Although the Honey Badger was widely expected to be RB’s team leader, it is Yuki Tsunoda who is leading the way in the stats that matter, qualifying and the Grands Prix.

Last time out in Melbourne he not only qualified inside the top ten but brought his car home in seventh place while Ricciardo was down in 12th having to recover from a back-of-the-grid start.

Ricciardo’s troubles have led to concerns that this could be a repeat of his McLaren years where he admits he got lost along the way trying to find solutions.

Today he insists he knows what the issues are, and he won’t let himself get swayed by outside voices.

“It’s probably, what we’re chasing is a little bit of as always downforce, a bit of rear grip,” he said. “To be honest, I struggled a little bit in the high speed in Melbourne and Saudi.

“Saudi we did see we were down a bit, so we kind of felt like we had a bit of an explanation for that. But it was still the case in Melbourne through kind of Turn 9 and 10 where I was down a bit compared to Yuki.

“I think we probably focus a little bit of our set-up on those areas to give me that confidence, and then I think the low and medium speed stuff, we’re pretty much there.

“And then probably on top of that, it’s just important… it is not a McLaren situation.

“So I think it’s just important now that I just keep working with my engineers, and we don’t start taking too many suggestions or advice from the outside.

“Of course, I would have wanted more results from the first few races, I’m not happy with it of course. But it’s important that we just stay on course, ultimately, and don’t get sidetracked.”

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Daniel Ricciardo wants chassis change before ‘shit’ verdict

Acknowledging he is feeling pressure “from me, more than anyone”, Ricciardo confirmed the team had made a few changes to his car between Saudi Arabia and Australia, and that more could be made after Japan depending on how the weekend progresses.

“Since Saudi, we changed a few things,” he said. “And then probably for China, we’ll change a few more things.

“We’re obviously trying to make sure that everything is good and there are no flaws in anything. And it’s just obviously for us peace of mind because we have obviously explored quite a bit.

“I’ve done a full pre-season and I jumped in last year and I was on the pace straight away in Budapest and this year feels like I’m a little bit behind, even with better prep and more experience with the car and the team.

“So that’s why we’re just making sure that we’re not missing something that is kind of out of our control for now.”

It could even necessitate a chassis change with the driver revealing “there has” been a conversation, adding: “I have certainly addressed that.

“Just again to make sure… there has been in the past a bit of difference. You know, obviously, I’ve driven F1 a long time now, but you can find some differences. So that was certainly something I raised the possibility of if we still are struggling.

“Before we tell me ‘I’m shit’, let’s get that sorted and put to bed.”

Daniel Ricciardo knows what Helmut Marko ‘expects and wants’

But while the bigger picture for Ricciardo is another season on the grid, and perhaps even a promotion to Sergio Perez’s Red Bull Racing seat, for now he needs results.

Already Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko has publicly issued him with two hurry-ups with Ricciardo saying he is well aware of the Austrian expects from him.

“I know what he expects and wants and it’s exactly what I want,” he said. “I know it’s 24 races and it’s a long season and if I have two good races now and all of a sudden it’s forgotten the bad ones.

“But every race that passes is another one that okay, okay, so yeah, so three, three races and not having a result I want. I’m sure it’s also not what he wants or the team want.

“But it’s important for us, Pierre and Patrick my two engineers have been working their butts off, and it’s important that we just focus on ourselves and don’t get kind of distracted by anything else.

“And of course, we all want the result. But it’s not going to come from receiving suggestions or advice or I don’t know anything else from someone.

“So we’ll just stay on course and I know it will come on. Unfortunately, it hasn’t come yet but I definitely have faith.”

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