Daniel Ricciardo is hoping he can fire himself into a title fight as soon as next season with his new McLaren team.
The Aussie joined from the outfit formerly known as Renault ahead of the 2021 campaign and made a great first impression on his new bosses with a creditable P7 on debut inside a damaged MCL35M after early contact with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly.
Based on McLaren’s opening showing in Bahrain, where Ricciardo’s team-mate Lando Norris finished an eye-catching P4, it appears they will at the very least put up a valiant defence in holding onto the P3 spot in the Constructors’ Championship in 2021.
However, Ricciardo has his eyes firmly set on a bigger prize and thinks it could even be a realistic target as soon as 2022 when new regulations come into play.
“Obviously I’ve done a bit of moving around the last few years,” Ricciardo said in an interview with the official Formula 1 YouTube channel.
“It’s not something I want to continue doing or plan on doing. It’s stressful and actually hard work so I feel like this team has already laid out a very nice foundation.
“And if I can build on what I can already see that they’ve got and personally achieve all of my goals here, then I think we can fight for a World title. Hopefully already as soon as next year.”
As for his main goals in 2021, Ricciardo would certainly not mind his name on a few podium trophies but he also wants to feel like he has made a difference with a team that is currently riding a wave with year-on-year progress.
“I definitely want to get my own name on the some of the trophies in the MTC [McLaren Technology Centre],” he said.
“That’s one aim and I also really want to look back on the year and know that I have made a difference within this team.
“The team has created something pretty awesome, particularly in the last 24 months, and I really want to feel like I’ve contributed to that and ride the wave that they are on.
“But I want to do some of the weightlifting [myself] and maybe say ‘alright, this team has made another step because of my input, my drive and my determination’.”