Daniel Ricciardo acknowledges that Zak Brown’s comment that the driver has not met McLaren’s expectations is “pretty true”.
Ricciardo joined McLaren last season where he has been largely shown up by his team-mate Lando Norris.
He, however, earned a spade full of good will last season when he won the Italian Grand Prix, McLaren’s first victory since 2012.
It was hoped, by the team and the Aussie, that this year’s all-new cars would at least put him on a par with Norris but that has not been the case.
While the Briton has four top-ten results, Ricciardo has just one leading to growing speculation about his future and whether he will still be a McLaren driver come next season.
McLaren CEO Brown threw fuel on that fire when he told Sky F1 that “short of kind of Monza and a few races, it’s generally not kind of met his or our expectations”.
— PlanetF1 (@Planet_F1) May 24, 2022
Ricciardo is not letting his team boss’s comments get him down.
“Well it’s not false,” he conceded when asked about what Brown had said. “It’s pretty true.
“Comments I don’t take personal. My skin is tanned, beautiful and also thick.
“And I know that I don’t want to be racing around 10th, 12th places you know, I still believe I can be at the front and belong at the front.
“So it’s been a little bit more certainly testing at times in terms of obviously trying to get up and maximise myself in this car.
“But yeah, we’re working together hard at it. And the team wants it. I want it. So yeah, we’re just working through it.”
There was also some confusion about Ricciardo’s contract, and the duration of it.
While it was thought to have been a two-year deal with an option for a third, Andreas Seidl recently revealed that it actually until the end of 2023 with an option for the following season.
Ricciardo was also asked about that.
“Yeah, it’s clear,” he said. “I have a contract until the end of 2023. Covid missed me up, so I just get messed up with the years!”
McLaren are expected to give IndyCar driver Colton Herta an FP1 run later this season while their own IndyCar driver Pato O’Ward is also in line for a Formula 1 team.
Both drivers, says the rumour mill, are on McLaren’s short list to replace the Aussie.