McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl has spoken of Daniel Ricciardo still being in a learning process, but that points need to start coming.
There was a buzz around Ricciardo’s switch to McLaren for 2021, with the team making their delight in signing a seven-time F1 race winner clear.
So far though, Lando Norris in the other McLaren has been the star of the show, with the Briton already taking podium finishes at Imola and Monaco in a season when he has yet to finish a race outside the points – the only driver who can claim that after eight rounds.
For Ricciardo, Monaco was the true low point, and since then his performances have picked up, although he ended up outside the points again in the Styrian Grand Prix, largely due to a random power loss which cost him four positions after early progress.
However, there were no excuses for qualifying as Ricciardo failed to make Q3 after a half-second deficit to Norris.
Formula 1 remains at the Red Bull Ring for the Austrian Grand Prix and Seidl is keen to see if McLaren have gone in the right direction with their “conclusions” from the first visit.
Either way though, the team need both Norris and Ricciardo to consistently fight for points.
“Of course he [Ricciardo] was disappointed he couldn’t continue the good development of the last few races,” Seidl told Auto Motor und Sport as he discussed Ricciardo’s Styrian GP.
“Just like us, he didn’t expect to have to fight like that in qualifying.
“The fact we are now driving on the same track again is perfect for his learning process. We can check whether we have drawn the right conclusions.
“Given the battle we are in, both cars have to score points every weekend.”
The Styrian Grand Prix was actually looking rather positive for Ricciardo after he went from P13 to P9 in the opening laps, until that brief power loss undid all the hard work.
From there, Ricciardo went on to finish the race P14, and McLaren are still working with their engine supplier Mercedes to find answers.
“We have to investigate this in detail with our colleagues from Mercedes,” Seidl confirmed.
“As I understand it, it had nothing to do with the temperatures.”
McLaren hold P3 in the Constructors’ Championship going into the Austrian Grand Prix, although Ferrari remain an ever-present threat only 12 points behind.
But Seidl is “optimistic” of being the third best team behind Mercedes and Red Bull again in Austria, saying his team have “always been very careful with the tyres”, a trait which will be important as the compounds move a step softer to the C3, C4 and C5.