Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

Ricciardo: Braking is main difference between McLaren, Renault and Red Bull cars

2021 F1 season

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Daniel Ricciardo says getting comfortable with the brakes in his McLaren is one of the biggest adjustments he has to make since joining the team.

Having switched to his third different team in the last four seasons, Ricciardo described how he is again having to adapt to a car which behaves differently under braking compared to what he is used to.

“It is certainly different again so I am still probably adapting or adjusting to that,” he said. “Going from Red Bull to Renault and Renault to McLaren, probably the braking is the biggest thing which it seems like you need to adapt.

“That’s one where I’m still trying to get on top of it and understand where the limit is, of the car. But I think generally in the past couple of years it looks like they’ve had a pretty good car on braking.”

Ricciardo is hopeful he’ll be able to perform some of his characteristic late-braking passes once he’s sussed the brakes in his new car.

“I think that once I’m up to speed [it] should be a pretty good one and hopefully [you’ll] see some good passes from me again, some late ones,” he said.

“With the braking it’s more probably just a mechanical feeling. I think even things like new cars, new pedals and positioning, it’s probably more just a feel on that physically than anything else for now.”

The changes to F1 car aerodynamics to reduce downforce have also altered their handling characteristics, said Ricciardo.

“I have seen a few more cars sliding, for sure. I’m not sure they’re quite there with the rear grip yet. So I think most people are probably still suffering some losses with with the floor change.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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23 comments on “Ricciardo: Braking is main difference between McLaren, Renault and Red Bull cars”

  1. I think/hope Ricciardo and Norris will work well as a duo, Norris and Sainz were a great team and seem like genuine friends. I get the impression that Ricciardo will be friendly but more of an on-track rival and apply more pressure to push Norris.

    I’d love to see some of his trademark late-braking overtakes in the McLaren. He’s a class act, I can hear his smile when reading the interview extracts.

    1. Yeah, Im looking foward to this combo. As a friendly bet, who do you think will win over the season? Who ever you choose, I’ll bet the opposite!

    2. @geekzilla9000 I predict that Norris won’t really be close enough to Ricciardo to really make it a huge rivalry. I think Ricciardo will comfortably have the beating of him in both qualifying and the race, the same way he did with Hulkenberg after Hulkenberg beat Sainz in 2018.

      1. Ooooooooooooh! Tough one!

        @richardcantelo1000 / @mashiat

        I think Sainz had some bad luck last year and would have out-measured Norris by some margin otherwise. Norris is one of my favourite drivers, but I think Ricciardo – with his natural talent and added experience – will come out on top. I still think Norris will do well though, especially during the last few laps when he seems to snatch places from those ahead.

      2. @mashiat

        I thought it was fairly close between Ricciardo and the Hulk. Hulk was stronger at the start of the season, but when Ricciardo was up to speed with the car, he was ahead more often, by small margins mostly.

        If Norris takes another step forward this season, I think we could see a pretty close battle among them. Would still expect Ricciardo to finish in front.. mostly due to his Sunday performances, but in qualifying I would say it would be pretty even Steven between the both of them.

        1. @todfod It was fairly close, but Ricciardo was decisively better, and I expect it to be similar to Norris. I’m expecting an average gap of between 1-2 tenths in qualifying, but with Ricciardo probably getting 65% or more of McLaren’s point total.

  2. No mention of the different brake manufacturers and their different feel. Remember before when some were trying different ones like Brembo, Carbon Industries or even a mix of pads and discs. I believe Grosjean’s hunt for the perfect brake feel was almost a sub story in F1 at one point. (“the brake broke” – quote)

    1. These days Braking means brake by wire and energy recovery systems, which means Riccardo is really talking about the software responce to him pressing that pedal. This is one of those key areas which will be different to each team. The brake responce curve wont be nearly as predicatable as you might imagine. The positioning of the pedals etc is the most superficial aspect of these systems.

  3. I think he’s referring to how strong breaking was in his RedBull. Be it mechanical or aero, the post 2014 RedBulls could dive into the corner in a way that seemed unreal. Miles faster than any other car. The difference was so big that Ricciardo could launch an attack from a long distance. Not only him, other RBR drivers as well. Remember the “torpedo” anyone?

    I am assuming Renault wasn’t good at it, and he found some of that back at McLaren.

    I can imagine post test briefing: So, how did you like the car?. And his reply was probably the very heading on this article. Breaking guys, that’s the main difference I felt…

    1. McLaren changed brake manufacturer this year. Probably because of Ricciardo. They used to have Akebono, now they don’t list the partner on their website. It is likely to be Brembo.

    2. They were saying the same thing when he was driving for Renault. He overtook many cars with the same way. By breaking late

      1. Yeah, that’s why Perez said he needed RedBull to pull of that move, hence, by braking late.

    3. Remember the “torpedo” anyone?

      Now you’re really confusing breaking with braking ;)
      @Only Facts!

      1. @coldfly Oh well, thems the breaks! Or…thems the brakes?

        I’ll see myself out.

      2. Yep!!!
        Ironic, considering his ‘handle‘.

  4. “Stay tuned for more honey badger, lick a stamp send it, last of the late braking action.”

    I really can’t believe the main difference isn’t the power units. He’d be lucky if his Red Bull didn’t blow up, to a much more reliable but slow Renault, surely the McLaren Mercedes has to be noticeably better…

  5. Excited about this team for 2021. Lets hope they can get back to their winning days. Ric an improvement vs Sainz. Mercedes engine. Diffuser innovation. Bring it on!

  6. Maybe he points at braking area of performance because that is one of his strengths, íf he can rely on them, trust them. Maybe another driver would say rear stability is the biggest difference because they need a planted rear to get the best performance

  7. Ricciardo really seems to have a technical know how and a nice way to communicate with the engineers exactly what he’s feeling, the subtle differences he’s finding, that can help the team improve areas and really extract the best from their package.

    His technical feedback seems quite excellent and is definately one of his strengths that helps his team improve and become more competitive.

    1. It’s hard to know from the outside, but certainly circumstantially his leaving RBR coincided with a sustained period of instability in the RBR car and them being very slow to address the issue. Maybe it was his feedback they were lacking, maybe not, but I’m sure they would have rather had him giving feedback than Gasly and Albon.

      1. Methinks RBR’s slowness was due to Dr Death having already stated the team would be built around Max [and, without saying, that incl. the car]. Gasly & Albon were victims of his blinkers attitude.
        If RBR do not give Perez a good car they may well lose 3rd in WCC [Merc, Ferrari/McLaren] and lose mega $$s. Mateschitz will then be really p1$$^d.
        Look how Dan’s feedback improved ‘Reggie

        Come on Dan, lick it & have a ripper ’21!!! Oi, Oi, Oi!!!

      2. @bookgrub I think it was rather Ricciardo not able to cope as well with the loose rear end, which surely is a huge part of stability under braking. I believe he himself said that he was chasing setup fixes while Verstappen was just driving it.

  8. They should have 3 different densities of brakes and the teams have to use two of them each race… Then we’d all be talking about brembo and it might spice up the racing. *Sarcasm*

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