Andrea Stella says Daniel Ricciardo brings a “really nice atmosphere” to McLaren that provides a “good foundation” for the team moving forward.
McLaren’s executive racing director thinks the Australian, who suffered an off-colour maiden season with the team as he struggled to get to grips with his car, has brought a dynamic that can help them progress into 2022 and beyond.
Ricciardo won McLaren’s first race for nine years when he took the chequered flag at Monza, but found it difficult to match his team-mate Lando Norris in equal machinery.
He was able to outscore his younger colleague in the second half of the season though, and Stella feels confident that the way he works with the team will pay dividends when the new season gets under way.
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“We know there is more to come with Daniel,” Stella told reporters, quoted by GPFans.
“In a way, we have a sort of development plan and I am looking forward to being able to see what we will be able to do next year with Daniel.
“I am very optimistic from this point of view, and let me just say that working with him is a real pleasure.
“He creates a really nice atmosphere in the team, which is a good foundation for the technical and driving development.”
Ricciardo gave himself a low rating out of 10 for his year’s work, but will have taken heart as he reflects on some of his performances as he spends the off-season back in Australia.
The former Red Bull and Renault driver slowly began to get back on terms with Norris as the season went on, and Stella used the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as an exanple of how he much he improved – even if the result in qualifying was a deceptive one.
“The progress through the season has been tangible,” said Stella. “Even if we look at Saudi, and I want to say that because this may have been a low piece of information, but actually he was very quick in qualifying.
“You might remember in Q1 he was P3 or something and then in Q2 actually there was damage to the car on a kerb which took Daniel out of contention.
“Otherwise, his performance in qualifying in Saudi would have been very strong.”
Norris finished 45 points ahead of Ricciardo in the Drivers’ standings and the team from Woking were pipped to P3 in the Constructors’ Championship by Ferrari when the season ended.
Ricciardo creating right 'atmosphere' at McLaren
Andrea Stella believes Daniel Ricciardo is creating the right atmosphere at McLaren.