Daniel Ricciardo says time at McLaren 'was a bit of a mess'

Daniel Ricciardo opens up on his time at McLaren saying ‘it was a bit of a MESS’ and that the issues ran deeper than simple mechanical problems

  • Ricciardo is now a reserve driver for Red Bull
  • In Melbourne for Australian Grand Prix
  • Spoke about disastrous time at McLaren 

Daniel Ricciardo has opened up on his tumultuous two years at McLaren and the issues beyond the mechanical ones that plagued his time as a driver there.

The 33-year-old Aussie is back at home for the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne.

He is now contracted back at Red Bull as a part-time reserve driver with a view to return to Formula One in 2024.

Ricciardo is attending only eight of the 23 races on the F1 calendar this year to take a step back from the sport’s demanding schedule. 

He underwent a seat fitting and will take part in Red Bull’s team strategy meetings this weekend 

It is hard to wipe the smile off Daniel Ricciardo’s face but there were times at McLaren where it was too much even for the easygoing Aussie

Ricciardo’s wrecked McLaren after a crash in Monaco in 2022 which was just one of many issues he had to deal with

Disappointment followed Ricciardo in his two years at McLaren and he was ultimately replaced by fellow Aussie Oscar Piastri.

Piastri is also struggling with the McLaren in his debut season, with a 12th placing at Albert Park in the first practice session and 14th best time in the second before rain called time early on the session.

Ricciardo is looking to rebuild his confidence and find his mojo again after the frustrating two years at McLaren and has now admitted in a Fox Sports interview that the problems ran deeper than just mechanical flaws.

‘It became everything,’ he told Fox Sports’ Jess Yates and Neil Crompton at Albert Park.

‘I think that’s what made it so frustrating at times. Things were always moving. It was one weekend, let’s say it’s braking and then by the end of the week we got onto it. But then before the next weekend it was something else.

‘Nothing was ever really adding up. There was no step one, step two, step three. It was just a bit of a mess.

The trademark smile is back for Ricciardo now that he has returned to Red Bull as a part-time reserve driver

Ricciardo of Australia and Oracle Red Bull Racing looks on in the garage during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Albert Park

‘We probably started over analysing things and that takes a hit on my confidence. And I’m questioning a few things in myself. And I’m seeing everyone scratching their heads and I’m forced to scratch my head.

‘At the end of the day, in the big picture, it’s no-one’s fault. We just got into a place that didn’t end up being very productive and ultimately I didn’t feel I could deliver in a way that was natural to me as far as using my natural ability.

‘I wasn’t going out there with a clear mind. I was questioning too many things I guess.’  

Ricciardo said that he still has the hunger to drive in F1 again and his love for the sport hasn’t faded. He is happy with his current situation and will reassess his options with his team later in the year during F1’s silly season in July. 

However, with Sergio Perez playing the perfect second fiddle to two-time reigning champion Verstappen at Red Bull and Lando Norris likely Mercedes’ first choice to replace Lewis Hamilton if he retires, options look slim for Ricciardo. 

Alan Jones, the last Australian to win an F1 title in 1980, has questioned if there is an attractive spot on the grid for Ricciardo next season. 

Source: Read Full Article