Ricciardo: ‘McLaren are the benchmark now’

Mark Scott
McLaren Renault

McLaren Renault

Daniel Ricciardo may be driving for the works team at Renault, but he believes customer team McLaren now set the standard in the midfield.

McLaren posted their best result of the season in Austria with Lando Norris finishing P6 and Carlos Sainz flying through the field at the Red Bull Ring to come home P8.

With both Renault cars finishing outside of the points, it saw McLaren, in P4, stretch their advantage over their engine suppliers to 20 points.

Ricciardo recently said he was puzzled by the yo-yo form of Renault, perhaps it is McLaren who hold the answers for both him and the team.

“I mean, looking at the McLarens, they’re certainly the benchmark now and they’ve really come on, and they’re the ones with that kind of package that we’re looking for,” Ricciardo said via Motorsport.com.

“Looking at it, they’re able to run more downforce and more efficiently, so they can run higher downforce, yet lose less in the straights.

“So it seems like our package itself, when we do run more, we don’t seem to be able to use it well, so that’s something.

“Whether that goes back to correlation in the wind tunnel, all these things, I guess all that’s going to be addressed.

“But, absolutely, something isn’t adding up, and I know the team has invested a lot, and I guess the value for money is not coming yet.”

Ricciardo went on to say he is happy to see a resurgent McLaren as it will certainly push the rest of the midfield, including Renault, on to try and topple them.

“They’re very fast at the moment,” Ricciardo added. “And part of me is actually happy that they are pushing the midfield forward.

“I think it’s going to force us to get a bit more out of ourselves. Obviously I’m not happy being beaten, but I think it’s going to push us to a better level, so that’s our target now and we need to find a way to catch them.”

Ricciardo also thinks that Renault and McLaren having the same engine is a good thing, as it leaves no room to hide for the Enstone team.

He replied: “Because it doesn’t leave us any excuses. It shows that there is room to improve on the chassis, and the package.

“It’s probably better for everyone working for some accountability. It proves it can be better, so we can find a way.”

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