Andreas Seidl, the Team Principal of the McLaren F1 Team, admits that he expected Daniel Ricciardo to adapt to his new team and find speed with his MCL35M faster than has this season.
Ricciardo made the jump from the Renault DP World F1 Team (now Alpine F1 Team) to McLaren at the beginning of the 2021 season but has struggled for pace, particularly in relation to team-mate Lando Norris.
Whereas Norris has taken three podium finishes in the opening nine races and secured his maiden front row start in the Austrian Grand Prix last weekend, Ricciardo has yet to threaten the top three with a best finish of sixth. Ricciardo has scored forty points in the first nine races and sits eighth in the Drivers’ Championship, sixty-one points fewer and four places lower than Norris.
Seidl says he did not imagine that the Australian would take as long to come to terms with his new team as he has, and he believes his driver will agree with him. However, the Team Principal has every belief that Ricciardo will get to grips with the team and car before too long.
“I don’t think he imagined it would be so difficult to change teams,” Seidl said to RTL. “He’s disappointed, so are we. Because we thought he would be faster.
“I am still convinced that at some point it will click with him.”
Speaking to Motorsport.com after the Austrian Grand Prix, Ricciardo admits that he has been finding it difficult to adjust to life at McLaren after two years with Renault, but he is beginning to feel better behind the wheel of the MCL35M.
He credits team-mate Norris for doing a great job in the other car, but he knows it is up to him to close the gap and try and benefit the team in their fight for third place in the Constructors’ Championship.
“I feel like it’s obviously for whatever reason been a very unexpected and difficult season so far, just from a pace point of view,” said Ricciardo. “And I guess the easiest way for me to kind of move forward is to accept that.
“Did I expect more? Absolutely. But I think if I every weekend go into it now expecting to be quicker than Lando, or whatever it is, I’m probably just going to end up resenting the sport, because clearly it’s going to take a bit more.
“Clearly there’s something that is missing. I feel good in the car, especially the last three weeks, it’s felt better.
“I don’t want to say, what’s the word, wave the white flag, or succumb to whatever it is, I’m just going to not really focus or lose too much energy on that, and just accept that he’s driving very well. The aim is to obviously get closer, and help the team out as well.”