Daniel Ricciardo issues verdict on new RB chassis following performance lift

Thomas Maher
Daniel Ricciardo, RB, 2024 Chinese Grand Prix.

Daniel Ricciardo said he can feel a difference with his new RB chassis in Shanghai.

Daniel Ricciardo believes it’s too early to say his new chassis is helping a turnaround in China, but says he does feel a difference behind the wheel.

After a troubled start to the 2024 F1 season, Ricciardo was given RB’s delivery of a new chassis for the Chinese Grand Prix in a bid to discount the possibility of there being an issue with the previous one.

Daniel Ricciardo: I don’t want to jump on chassis as explanation

The eight-time F1 Grand Prix winner has made it clear that he doesn’t believe the explanation for his poor start to 2024 lies solely in the chassis he’s used for the first four races of the season, with RB sporting director Alan Permane also discounting the possibility of there being an issue with the car.

But, with RB delivering a new chassis as part of their season schedule, Ricciardo requested to use it and, with teammate Yuki Tsunoda happy with his car, the Australian is using the new chassis this weekend in Shanghai.

Ricciardo, who won the 2018 race at the circuit as a Red Bull driver, has had the upper hand on Tsunoda all weekend. Finishing 11th in the Sprint race as Tsunoda came home in 16th, Ricciardo followed it up by qualifying 12th for the Chinese Grand Prix on a day where the Japanese driver was knocked out in a disgruntled 19th.

Speaking to the media afterward, Ricciardo said he’s been feeling positive all weekend as things have run smoothly throughout.

“Yeah, definitely,” he said, when asked if he felt this weekend has been one of progress, as Ricciardo targets his first points of 2024.

“It feels like a more normal weekend. From the get-go yesterday morning, we’ve kind of just felt like we’re in a better place and everything came… I don’t want to say easier because that sounds too easy, but it’s just kind of come a bit more seamlessly so far this weekend.

“So it’s encouraging, obviously, we’d to change chassis. I don’t want to jump on that yet and be like, ‘It’s definitely that’ – obviously, we need to prove that over the course of a few races.

“But that was obviously something we changed for this weekend and, so far, it’s been my best weekend of the year.

“So whether it’s that or whether it’s just I’ve always kind of done well around here, we’ll see in Miami and Imola and maybe the next few, if it continues.”

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Daniel Ricciardo waiting for ‘five races’ before reaching chassis verdict

Given Ricciardo has performed strongly in Shanghai in the past, the RB driver was reluctant to say the chassis is the reason for his step forward but, having not made many other tweaks in preparation for the Chinese Grand Prix, said there’s no other significant differences to point to.

“This circuit is typically a bit more of a front-limited circuit,” he said.

“So it is a little different to probably the majority of tracks, in terms of the setup and that but I’d be lying if I said we changed too much this weekend.

“A few little tweaks here and there, but it’s nothing crazy. So let’s see but, so far, everything’s gone more normally and, right now, normal is good.”

Given the lack of changes introduced by RB, Ricciardo said he wants to see if some consistency develops in his weekends before reaching the conclusion the previous chassis may have been a root issue for him.

“Say if my weekend, how it’s going so far, continues, say, for the next five races, to completely do this 180, so to speak, then I’ll have confidence in saying ‘Alright, well, maybe we will never know what it was, but something didn’t make me feel right with the previous chassis I was racing’,” he said.

“I would love to be here in five races time and say that because it means the season has definitely turned around and finally get that put to bed, so to speak.

“I’m encouraged so far over the two days we’ve had here so far.”

Asked whether he’s feeling a difference on track while driving with the new chassis, Ricciardo was clear: “Let’s see. I will say yes. It’s one track, but yes, to be black and white with it, for now, yes.”

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