Andreas Seidl says McLaren have put together a “clear plan” for Daniel Ricciardo to prepare him for his first race with the team.
The British constructor have a new driver for the first time in two years in the form of the Aussie, who opted to leave Renault and sign a three-year contract.
With him joining in the midst of a global pandemic and a lockdown, integrating Ricciardo has been more difficult than usual. But McLaren team principal Seidl says a plan was put together and he’s “very happy” with how it has been executed.
“We want to make sure that when we hit the track in Bahrain, it doesn’t feel like Daniel doing the first race together with us. That is the goal,” he said, quoted by GPFans.
“Based on that, we have come up with a clear plan, with a focus on the planning on the operations side to make sure he is ready for the first free practice session.
“In addition, we have to get him in place to get him integrated into the commercial side, the marketing side of the team. What we have achieved so far, I am very happy.
“We obviously had a lot of online sessions with him, to make him familiar with the way we work with our car and with our system.
“Daniel [has been] on-site doing simulator sessions and seat fits and so on, together with the engineers and mechanics to get him ready. I am very happy with preparations so far, taking notice of the circumstances we are in.”
It's been a year of ups and downs, old tracks, new experiences and everything in between.
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) December 13, 2020
2020 was an excellent season for McLaren as they claimed two podiums and finished P3 in the Constructors’ Championship with 202 points.
With Ricciardo joining and Mercedes engines at their disposal, many expect them to do even better in 2021 and challenge the top two, but Seidl is not getting carried away.
“Obviously, it was a great achievement for us to get P3 last year,” added Seidl.
“Coming into this year, we are expecting, again, a very tough battle with all the competitors we were fighting with last year.
“We have Lando [Norris] now coming into his third year in Formula 1 and with Daniel on board with us, he has a clear reference for the sport and we need to make sure that as a team, we work together.
“We want to get closer to the cars in front of us, the Mercedes and the Red Bull cars that we weren’t able to last year. We need to be realistic.”