Daniel Ricciardo collecting ‘secret information’ as big questions remain over F1 ability

Jamie Woodhouse
RB driver Daniel Ricciardo against the blue sky backdrop in Melbourne.

RB driver Daniel Ricciardo.

Daniel Ricciardo revealed that an RB steering wheel feature is allowing him to collect “secret information” on his experiences, as he maintained that “I definitely believe I can do it” still on the F1 stage.

Ricciardo had been hoping to get his F1 2024 campaign back on track at his home race in Australia after his underwhelming start to the season, as he auditions for a return to the main Red Bull team. However, the wait for that breakthrough will roll on into Japan at least.

Daniel Ricciardo collecting ‘secret’ info in pursuit of breakthrough

The deletion of his fastest lap saw Ricciardo eliminated in Q1 at Albert Park, while team-mate Yuki Tsunoda impressed on his way to a P8 grid slot. He turned that into a P7 finish on Sunday, while Ricciardo missed out on the points.

Tsunoda then is certainly winning this intra-team battle to catch Red Bull’s attention, though Ricciardo continues to remain positive, even if where he has started the season is far bellow his expectations. To aid him in his recovery efforts, Ricciardo explained that he has a special “mark” feature on his steering wheel to flag up points of interest to the engineers.

“I feel like the frustration I kind of put aside for today,” Ricciardo told Formula 1 in the media pen. “I let that go last night and I didn’t end up breaking anything. I felt like some objects were going to get smashed after qualifying, but maybe there’s a bit of calm with age, I don’t know.

“But anyway, I kind of knew that what’s done is done and tried to make the most of today, and obviously it’s nice that there were moments in the race where I did have pace and I was able to show okay I can still get some good stints in there, but it was still good to get the laps.

“There’s things through the race where I’ll mark. We have, let’s say a button on the wheel that I can like use as a reference to say, ‘Oh, that lap I felt something there’.

“I’m not giving away secret information, but it’s just things so I remember to tell the engineers after, so there’s a few points through the race that I marked let’s say and so it’s good to get the understanding, the data gathering and all that.

“Obviously the weekend I would have loved to have gone better, but I think we’ve just got to keep our kind of eyes on the prize.

“It hasn’t been the best three races to start the season for sure. And especially kind of the preparation I had coming into the season, it’s definitely not where I expected to be. But it’s certainly not something that we’re going to get like rattled by or anything. We’ve just got to stay on course and I’m sure we’ll find it.”

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Ricciardo’s F1 career has been given a lifeline with the Red Bull junior team after his disastrous McLaren stint, though this poor start to F1 2024 has raised further question marks over his ability to still operate at the peak of his powers.

Ricciardo is adamant though that he will, at some stage, re-find his form.

“I definitely believe I can do it,” he insisted.

“It’s probably a two-part process now. I think there’s obviously me diving into the data and seeing even kind of like driving technique, ‘Why am I doing this? Is it because of what I feel? Like I’m trying to then respond or correlate that to the data and talk to the engineers while I’m doing something and then ask them questions. Why is it giving me this feeling?’

“I’m certainly throwing a lot of questions at them and I’m obviously asking myself a lot too, so I wouldn’t say there’s any panic.

“I would have loved the season to have started better, but we’ll just keep digging. I think as well the car hasn’t really changed from last year. Obviously it’s a bit of an update, but its characteristics and everything are very similar. So I think there’s some confidence in that.

“It’s not that we’ve changed everything and all of a sudden this car suits Yuki and doesn’t suit me, I certainly don’t feel it’s anything like that.

“I think we will find something. I thought it would have been this weekend. Maybe it’s next and if it’s not the next then we’ll keep going until it happens and it will happen.”

RB are up to P6 in the early F1 2024 Constructors’ Championship standings thanks to Tsunoda’s haul of four points in Melbourne.

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