‘Much more complex’ issue behind Daniel Ricciardo struggles, ex-F1 team boss fears

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

Daniel Ricciardo's issues could be quite 'complex' according to Giancarlo Minardi.

Daniel Ricciardo’s slow start to 2024 is “difficult” to understand, according to former F1 team boss Giancarlo Minardi.

The Australian driver is yet to get off the mark with points in 2024 and has struggled to keep pace with RB team-mate Yuki Tsunoda to start the season.

Giancarlo Minardi: Difficult to give Daniel Ricciardo a concrete value

Former F1 team boss Giancarlo Minardi, who founded the Faenza-based squad RB in their original iteration as Minardi in the 1980s, shared his thoughts on how he sees the RB drivers faring to start the season.

Occupying sixth in the Constructors’ Championship thanks to Tsunoda’s seventh and 10th-place finishes in Australia and Japan respectively, Minardi praised Tsunoda for what he’s managing to achieve.

“He is doing well and was unlucky a few times due to technical problems,” Minardi told Italy’s NewsF1.it.

“Still he managed to finish 10th. He is first behind the five top teams, but it will not be easy to keep this sixth place in the Constructors’ championship.

“But he is doing his best and it is clear that RB needs the second driver too, because you don’t get far with one point per race. You can lose your lead quickly.”

With the experienced Ricciardo lagging behind Tsunoda, Minardi said he’s unable to explain just what’s going on with the Australian driver, having made a strong comeback with the team alongside Tsunoda in 2023.

“After he came back he had that accident after which he was out because of his wrist,” the Italian said.

“He was there though, he fought Tsunoda. But Ricciardo is difficult for me to assign a concrete value.

“As an outsider observing things, the problem seems much bigger than injuries, it’s much more complex.”

Both Ricciardo and Tsunoda are unconfirmed for 2025, with Liam Lawson waiting in the wings for his opportunity at a race seat with the RB squad.

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Thierry Boutsen: Daniel Ricciardo’s mentality not as strong as when he was winning

Three-time F1 Grand Prix winner Thierry Boutsen echoed the thoughts of Minardi, as he spoke to PlanetF1.com in an exclusive interview.

“If you’re driving in Formula 1, you have to give 100 percent of yourself all the time,” Boutsen said of Ricciardo.

“If you’re affected by confidence, affected by a physical problem, affected by anything, you’re not doing a good job.

“You can see today, that he is making mistakes and is not as quick as he should and what he has been in the past.

“That means that his mental[ity] is not as strong as it was when he was winning races in the past.

“So it’s a very difficult situation – when the mental takes over the rest, the performance goes away and then the mistakes can come.

“Then, the more mistakes come, the more you lose your confidence. It’s a situation that is very difficult to come out of, it’s a mental thing. It’s also part of his mental preparation that there may be something missing there.”

As for whether there may be a point that Red Bull lose faith in the Australian, Boutsen said it’s difficult to see how his seat can be justified based on his current form.

“If I was the team manager and trying to make my team win, I would like to have drivers who have no psychological problems, and no pressure,” he said.

“They’re just there to win and to do everything to win.

“You need to put everything to the side and just concentrate on one thing. If you have some kind of problem, somehow, you don’t give 100 percent. That’s not what is needed in Formula 1. You don’t deserve your seat if it’s like this.”

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