Motor sport

“Reviews show people care,” says Daniel Ricciardo

McLaren team boss Zak Brown recently said there were ‘mechanisms’ in Ricciardo’s contract which meant he could be released before the scheduled end, with rumors surrounding the mounting of the seat of the Aussie in particular after Sergio Perez signed an extension at Red Bull meaning Pierre Gasly could be looking elsewhere.

Ricciardo, however, claimed that some statements such as Brown’s were lost in translation, as he reiterated his safety within the team.

“We had some catch up, but I don’t think anything needs to be elaborated on that,” he said. “I think sometimes I’m guilty of that too, being caught up in the media and not always making full sense of things – and I just like to talk!

“I was not surprised [by Brown’s statement] I’ve kind of become a bit immune to the media and I think having been in the sport for so long, we do more and more of it over the years. So I don’t really take it for its full value or value all the time.

“At the end of the day, I know the facts between us. My contract is clear with the team until the end of next year. I’m fully committed I’ve certainly expressed that and it’s obviously right now [down to me] on the right track to show what I am capable of.

However, despite the behind-the-scenes serenity that Ricciardo insists on, the daunting task of getting the better of the MCL36 remains.

“Some of the things the car did last year, they still do”

“It certainly has its challenges,” he said. “But I think it’s about bringing it back to the heart of what I can do. I still believe I have it and it’s not like a place where there’s low self-confidence or a low self-esteem.

“All [in F1] operates at such a high level – and if something is a little out of tune it can have a carryover effect.

“[Good form] could happen at any circuit and I think from there it will probably start to build again – a good pace like the second half of last year. I just need to get back to this place and it’s not as far as it looks.

Ricciardo just didn’t understand McLaren’s 2022 MCL36 card

McLaren

Ricciardo won in Baku for Red Bull in 2017, in the previous generation of F1 cars. Asked if this move to a new aerodynamic philosophy was hurting him, the Australian replied that that was not the problem and that some inherent problems with McLaren’s design were still there.

“This is massive sabotage!” he started out joking. “Even with the changes this year, there are definitely still things that go back to last year’s car – some of the things the car did last year, it still does.

“It is always [about] try to get above that. It’s a place where I haven’t really found these issues maybe in the past, and that’s why it’s something a bit new or unfamiliar to me.

Perhaps needing luck on his side as much as any current form, Ricciardo said he would face a bit of danger in a race favoring the brave, similar to his victory in Baku in 2017.

“I would love anything,” said the Australian. “2017 was one of the craziest races I’ve taken part in, so I’m looking forward to that.”