Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Interlagos, 2021

McLaren suspect chassis crack led to Ricciardo’s race-ending power loss

2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix

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McLaren suspect the loss of power which forced Daniel Ricciardo out of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix was caused by a problem with his chassis.

Ricciardo said after the race that his car suffered from a loss of power, which led him to retire from eighth place on lap 50.

All eight Mercedes-powered drivers have exceeded their maximum allocations of power unit parts over the course of the season as the manufacturer has experienced reliability problems. However team principal Andreas Seidl revealed the team identified a problem on his car which may have caused his retirement.

“We had a power loss on track,” said Seidl, “and in the initial investigation we found a technical issue, a crack on the chassis side of the power unit installation, which we now need to investigate.” Seidl said the team will probe the failure more deeply once it has completed the long journey to Qatar for the next race.

Before retiring, Ricciardo was feeling optimistic about his chances for the race.

“I think it was actually going well,” said Ricciardo. “We were in the fight for at least hanging on to Ferrari. We knew they had to two-stop because they went medium-medium [over the first two stints] so we were potentially going to try and do a [one-stop], or we had the ability to, being on the hard. And Gasly was there in our window as well.

“I think, it could have could have got interesting. We were doing what we could and we just had a loss of power there, so we had to retire the car.”

Prior to his retirement Ricciardo had a more encouraging race following his disappointing sprint qualifying performance.

“I had some battles. I think it was a much, much more interesting race than yesterday, and we were at least in the mix, in the fight.”

Ricciardo’s first retirement of 2021 came at poor time for McLaren. Their hopes of finishing third in the constructors championship suffered another blow in Brazil. Lando Norris scored their only point in tenth, and the team now trail Ferrari by 31.5 points with three races left.

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2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix

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7 comments on “McLaren suspect chassis crack led to Ricciardo’s race-ending power loss”

  1. Since Monza and then Sochi their fortunes have been rather unappealing! I do hope it means they are throwing a lot of effort towards next year so that they will be able to continue this fight for the top 4.

    1. @bascb
      I think they were simply overachieving in the first half of the season and obviously at Monza.
      Ferrari were generally faster on the majority of tracks, but were handicapped by a weaker PU (combined with more drag) and sometimes by graining (Portimao, Baku, Paul Ricard, Sochi).
      Ever since Ferrari introduced their new ERS, they held a pace advantage over McLaren on every type of circuit.

      1. On pace Norris overtook Leclerc in the sprint race and kept up with Sainz. If he hadn’t cut across Sainz at the start this race could have looked very different while in qualifying 2 tenths covered all 4 drivers. I think this the pace was closer than the end result shows but Ferrari and its drivers did a great job while McLaren and the drivers made misjudgements (Ricciardo poor sprint start, Norris start line collision) + a strange reliability issue.

  2. It seems now that overall Mercedes has a worse engine than Honda but as Hamilton shoved it doesn’t mean it’s slower

  3. Dan was moving out of the slipstream to cool the engine on laps before the first safety car. Lap 2&3?

    I’m thinking the issue for the merc engine was obvious very early on. The pattern was somewhat similar to the austrian GP.

    1. Cool engine or cool tyres? The tyres were the most critical thing on Sunday due to the heat.

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