I want to be champion, McLaren feels like the best chance for me – Ricciardo

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In the round-up: Daniel Ricciardo says he’s encouraged by the progress his new team McLaren have made since he first talked to them about joining in 2018.

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Comment of the day

F1’s engine freeze is a change for the better, reckons Chris:

This is potentially very good news, not just for Red Bull but for the whole of F1 with the engine freeze. Coming as it does at a point where performance has more or less equalised between manufacturers. Except Ferrari.

The last time there was a similar freeze in the last few years of the V8 era, we ended up with multiple teams all competitive to within a few tenths. We could be in for a run of very close championships with, dare I say it, someone other than Mercedes or Hamilton taking the title.

The only thing I would comment on here though is where Marko says that the engine freeze will reduce costs; presumably he means only for the manufacturers. I’d imagine the customer teams aren’t going to get a reduction in the supply contracts which are, to my knowledge, all at a fixed price for a yearly service. So potentially not really of any benefit to independent teams, whereas perhaps very useful to manufacturers who will be able to put more money into the chassis side.

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On this day in F1

  • 20 years ago today Ralf Schumacher ended a six-day test at Kyalami quickest for Williams, 0.009s faster than new team mate Juan Pablo Montoya

Main image: McLaren via Twitter

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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33 comments on “I want to be champion, McLaren feels like the best chance for me – Ricciardo”

  1. Danny Ric you think you think you’ve got the car to win the championship?
    Mercedes, RedBull, Ferrari, Alpine among others doubt it.
    Yours would be the best smile for a champion for certain
    I wish you the best

    1. I don’t think Ricciardo believes he’s got a winning car this year, he’s looking further ahead than that. And among the available options, I think he made the right choice. McLaren are definitely on the up, who knows where they are next year with all new cars.

      1. Renault is in the up too. This was a sideways move (unless he had insider info on the 2022 Renault car/engine).

        1. Renault did finally show some improvement last year but not enough (and definitely too late) to convince me. Will be interesting to see how the new leadership works out for them. One thing is safe to say, though: Renault will only have data from a single team to put into the development of their PU until the freeze. We will se how that works out for ’22 and beyond.

      2. I think he is aiming for 2022 if McLaren does a good job Aero wise with the Mercedes engine they have a good chance because everything is resetted.

  2. Re: Danny Ric What else would we expect him to say? I had a better chance to win a championship at Red Bull or Renault but I decided to leave those teams and come to McLaren because I like their orange cars? Of course he is going to say this probably his best chance. With the Merc engine and their level of dominance in the back of the McLaren it may actually be his best chance so far. But I don’t think they’re going to be able challenge Mercedes on a consistent enough basis to win a championship for awhile.

    1. @g-funk Well, Max is still waiting for that title shot at Red Bull, and Renault aren’t really getting any closer. If McLaren do leapfrog Red Bull, I can imagine Horner and Marko are going to have their work cut out persuading Verstappen to stay.

      1. @david-br only Mercedes fights for championships at the moment, that is true, but the only teams that will get close to them and potentially challenge them at a point in the (hopefully near) future are Red Bull and likely Ferrari once they get their engine back in order. I don’t think Max has any interest in the red team, so unless Merc comes knocking, I don’t think Red Bull is at any risk of losing Max to anyone else.

        Ricky left the only place he could be regularly winning races at when he went to Renault and I don’t think it makes much difference if he’s at Renault or McLaren as far as midfield position goes. Occasional podiums with a freak race win is what he has to count on. The budgets are similar, the only difference is Renault is a works team, but that hasn’t made a difference at any point in their current run. The seat at McLaren is the best Ricky can get atm.

        1. @aiii I did say ‘if’ McLaren leapfrog Red Bull, it’s a hypothetical, not really what I’m expecting to happen. It’s more a question mark over Red Bull on my part, since it has become a perennial question, are Red Bull finally going to be close enough to challenge Mercedes seriously? At the same time, I think your reply underestimates McLaren’s resources and past winning experience. It could happen. And yes, were it too, it’s quite possible Max would be looking Mercedes way. Ferrari, we’ll see. McLaren and Renault just seem more tuned into current Formula 1, more likely to evolve strongly, but no, I wouldn’t rule them out.

          1. I think RedBull is closer but not faster as i expect Mercedes does a jump.

  3. I really hope the McLaren move works out for Ricciardo. It would be a real shame not to see him compete for a championship at least once in his F1 career and this does seem like his best chance.

    1. Yes, it really sucks, this mercedes dominance, it’s the reason why ricciardo has been so “unsuccessful”, he basically started when mercedes era was about to start, and realistically since 2014 either you are in a mercedes or you have no chance, there was only 2018 imo up for grabs for a ferrari driver of hamilton or alonso’s caliber, to mention some surely good enough current drivers, I think asking a ferrari driver to win the 2017 title was always a hard ask, even for someone like those or schumacher.

      1. tough ask*, I guess

      2. It’s a damn shame but if the new regulations don’t give the grid a good shake up we could realistically see ricciardo without a title, which is a crime, considering he’s at least as good as rosberg.

      3. @esploratore Yes, I agree. I’d put him level with Rosberg too in terms of speed and slightly ahead due to his racing skill (mixing late braking, as @robbie said, and cunning execution). I also like his mixture of charming ruthlessness, laughing and no doubt smiling broadly when he gets past people with a smart move.

    2. @david-br Agreed that would be exciting. ‘Last of the late-brakers’ he’s been called by some, and the 2022 cars should lend themselves moreso to that as drivers in less dirty air, much less affected by it as well, will have much more confidence in their cars going into corners with other cars.

  4. Re Shwartzman: I honestly don’t like TikTok and I don’t use it. Probably wouldn’t have it at all if I was him.

  5. Being a Ricciardo fan I’m hoping he gets some good results this year, as I posted earlier I think McLaren are a bit of a dark horse and could be a worry for RB.

  6. He had a car that could compete for the occasional win and from 2022 potentially a championship at Red Bull, but like Horner said he ran from a fight with Verstappen who was really starting to get on top of Ricciardo. Dominated him really badly in 2018, but had the outright speed advantage over Ricciardo basically from the start.

    1. He saw which way the deck was stacked at RB – as did we all – and went somewhere, anywhere else.

    2. Combination of both I’d say.

      I really have a feeling he can do something very good at McLaren already this year, and this bullish talk gives me even more hope, even if he’s really talking about years after that.

    3. It isnt really a fair fight. Redbull have shown since ricciardo left that verstappan comes first there. The car is designed and build for verstappen and whoever is in the 2nd car just has to deal with it. They done it with webber & they would have done it to ricciardo as well. Just look at the Baku crash.

      1. Adam, the thing verstappen’s detractors don’t get is that cars are built around the fastest driver they have, it’s not like schumacher’s benetton was better than verstappen sr., he was the best driver they had and built the car around him, so happened at ferrari, then for hamilton, then for verstappen now. The car was surely built around ricciardo in 2016 when verstappen joined after 4 races, he then proved to be faster than him over time, so red bull started building the car around him, if someone comes and proves to be faster than verstappen they’ll switch again, I just wouldn’t believe a faster driver than verstappen exists atm, I think he’s along with russel, leclerc and maybe hamilton the fastest tier of the grid.

  7. Hope he gets a champ one day, but doubt it will happen with McLaren. Overall, I think he’s better than RAI, BUT or ROS… so it would be a shame not to win at least 1 WDC.

    1. Absolutely agree, he’s better than all of those, I would consider him below hamilton, verstappen, leclerc and russel speed wise, but he’s the next best thing in this very competitive grid.

      1. @esploratore Speed wise yes, but a very good racer, both tactically and in fights. (Plus he’s a top bloke..)

        Will be interesting if he can dominate Norris like Ocon. Maybe he’s improved.

  8. I want RIC to be champion too.

    Unfortunately what people want and what they get are often different things.

    I think he’s good enough too, but lets not forget why McLaren left Merc in the first place, they felt they couldn’t battle for the championship as a customer team.
    When they went back, to me that was them accepting that they won’t be winning any titles in the short term.

  9. Ricciardo would have been better off staying at Renault. Renault made huge improvements with the engine and if they could do a better job with aero they could challenge. Fact is mclaren may have a Mercedes engine but they aren’t going to beat Mercedes.

    1. No I agree with Ricciardo the arrows are pointing more up for McLaren. Plus Renault could pull the plug at any moment.

  10. To this day, I wish Baku 2018 never went wrong…

  11. Ric is a great guy/driver etc.

    But while Mercedes is in F1 no other Mercedes engined outfit will beat them.

    Even if McLaren will be close, they are nowhere near fighting for wins.

    It will take a major rule change, or serious chassis messup by Mercedes.

    And then RedBull will pounce like a hungry Lion.

    Ferrari is probably out until new engine comes.

    Meanwhile Ric nedds a lot of luck to get the right car under him. If he does no doubt he will be there.

  12. If Honda pulled out of f1 as they saw mercedes have an hard to understand advantage then i don’t see the freeze doing any good, 2014’s freeze was great wasn’t it?

  13. @keithcollantine RE: last reference about the Senna roundabout. The correct spelling is “Porta Saragozza”, not “porto zaragoza”. I used to live in Bologna

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