Norris practising ‘mind soothing’, not mind games, on Ricciardo

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In the round-up: Lando Norris is helping his struggling team mate in McLaren’s drive to beat Alpine.

In brief

No McLaren mind games while Alpine battle hots up

Norris says he isn’t playing any ‘mind games’ with struggling team mate Daniel Ricciardo.

Past the halfway point in his second season at the team, Ricciardo is yet to find his form. Norris, who has signed two new deals with McLaren since his latest team mate arrived, made it clear he isn’t trying to turn the psychological screw on Ricciardo.

“No, it’s the opposite,” he said when asked by RaceFans at the Hungaroring. “I’m trying to help him as much as I can.

“It’s for the benefit of us as a team to try and beat Alpine, in the end of the day. He sees everything that I see in terms of data and everything.

“I’m offering more help than what I normally would. If you were fighting for a world championship, I’m saying more things that maybe what I would do. Just because that’s what we need for the team, it’s what I want for the team at the minute. So no [it’s] the opposite of mind games, whatever that is. ‘Mind soothing’.”

Super Formula reveals 2023 calendar, but not length of season

Super Formula, Japan’s top open-wheel racing series, has revealed which circuits it will be racing at next year but not how many races it 2023 season will consist of.

It is practically identical to the 2022 calendar, with the first race weekend taking place at Fuji Speedway on 7th-9th April. The first trip to Suzuka, the current home of the Japanese Grand Prix, is two weeks later and Autopolis is visited on 19th-21st May.

During summer Super Formula races at Sportsland Sugo (16th-18th June), Fuji (14th-16th July) and Twin Ring Motegi (18th-20th August), then there is break of two months before the season concludes at Suzuka on 27th-29th October.

This year the season opener, finale and Motegi round consist of two races while the weekends inbetween are single-race events. The 2023 calendar reveal did not mention if any events will feature two races next year.

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Comment of the day

There’s excitement about Ricciardo’s planned television series, that will focus on F1 and which he intends to bring more attention to the series. It will be a scripted fictional production rather than a documentary show though, with comedic influences, which could have unintended consequences.

Lets be honest, it’s sounds horrendous and it very obviously isn’t being made for F1 fans (who have been actively advocating against artificial drama).

The problem is, if it paints an unrealistic picture of the sport and viewers watch a GP weekend and end up bored or unimpressed, it could do more harm than good…
Luke S

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Wes!

On this day in motorsport

Last-lap heartbreak for Damon Hill boosted Jacques Villeneuve’s title hopes today in 1997


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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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41 comments on “Norris practising ‘mind soothing’, not mind games, on Ricciardo”

  1. could you imagine this EVER in a team run by Ron Dennis?

    1. Like in 2007?

    2. Well, I could imagine a Ron Dennis McLaren team fighting for world championship titles year in, year out..

  2. No Spa in 2023?


    1. Belgian media reported Monday about a calendar A and calendar B. Calendar A has 24 races including S-Africa and China. Calendar B has 23 races, excluding S-Africa but including China and Spa is 1st reserve for replacing China in case they can’t control COVID. Spa will not replace S-Africa in case the circuit isn’t ready, at that moment there will only be 23 races.
      Zandvoort will take Spa’s place end of August on the 2023 calendar.
      Spa is done…

      1. What i hear i am afraid your right (source from circuit) that very sad indeed.

      2. Imagine what the calendar would look like if fans could vote on it.

        1. Imagine how little money teams would get if F1 only went to venues fans want….

      3. That sounds like F1 is trying to please us by giving us SA because they will drop Spa. I don’t know how bad the financial situation is in Spa but I could also drop some guys from the council if they will drop Spa

      4. This is too bad. Especially with the off season work to the track to make it even better. This is one of the best race tracks in F1. Very bad move by the powers that be.

  3. re: COTD, nah. I think this caters to a certain type of audience…. people who watch F1 mainly for its glitz, glamour & decadence, all the riches & privileges.

    1. Same as DTS.Know a few of my friends who watch that but not the races.

  4. I had this day marked as the 25th anniversary of the 1997 Hungarian Grand Prix…I’m so glad you mentioned it. This is honestly a race which I remember vividly and think back on often. In my view it was Damon’s second best drive of his career after Suzuka 1994, but in terms of importance I think it was the most important of his F1 career. Even as a world champion many did, and to this day still do, doubt Damon’s quality as a racing driver. This day of days proved, even though it wasn’t necessary to prove it, that he was an absolutely top quality Grand Prix driver. Yes, circumstances went his way with Bridgestone brining the better tyre on the day, but he had an opportunity, and he took it in the way all great drivers do to so nearly take a win in an underpowered, though very beautiful, Arrows.

    Damon battled all through his F1 career and had to deal with people writing him off constantly, but he kept fighting. I still get goosebumps as I watch footage of him throwing the Arrows A18 down the inside of Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari…my ears ringing with the sound of Murray Walker shouting “And going through! And Damon Hill leads! Oh boy!”.

    What a race.

    1. @geemac I remember the panning ITV, in its first season as Britain’s F1 broadcaster, got for failing to show that pass live because they were on an advert break. Of all the things to miss, a pass for the lead at the Hungaroring – by an Arrows!

      1. @keithcollantine I didn’t have that problem as I wasn’t in the UK at the time! The commentary ran on for those of us outside the UK. :)

  5. There seems to be a lot of conjecture about Mclaren and Ricciardo but until the facts are known, my guess is that it’s still just “conjecture” that some media scribes are using to fill space during the break.

    If Dan still has the desire as a driver, I can’t see him just stepping aside, even for a big payout. It doesn’t (or didn’t ) seem to be in his DNA as a highly competitive driver.

    Good drivers just don’t suddenly become bad drivers, and I’d love to know the actual reasons why he’s so slow. I’d love to know the same about Seb who at his peak was one of the most metronomic drivers I had ever seen.

    I’d love to see a detailed article from a highly placed technical source on the technical reasons why a driver suddenly starts struggling for speed. Is it brakes have changed, torque or some aerodynamic change that alters the balance in grip from front to back (or vice versa) that can have such a profound impact on individual drivers.

    To me, there has to be a technical reason in the car. I know the team say “it requires a different driving style” but you’d want to believe that most F1 drivers have the capability to adapt after a few races, not continue to struggle as Dan, and other top drivers have, which leads me to believe there are probably fundamental technical reasons.

    As I’ve noted before, the top drivers at the moment seem to be those that have grown up through the “gaming” era – have cars been changed to match eSport characteristics? Are those characteristics radically different from what used to be the real thing?

    Here’s my challenge – can we see a definitive technical analysis of car characteristics that have changed and what impact those changes may have had on driver capabilities. Pretty please Keith :)

    1. Interesting question indeed.

      This study shows that reaction times (looking-doing latency) decline after the age of 24. It might be measured in ms, but that is still significant in F1 as a slower reaction time results in a bigger time loss when bringing a car back under control.
      Especially cars which are less stable, and those that are prone to snap oversteer, require super fast reaction times to bring them back under control. Thus in a car ‘running on tracks’ you might not see a big difference, but in cars which are a handful to drive you will be seeing the impact of the slower reaction times.

      The study also shows that older players (drivers) often compensate those slower reaction times with skill and experience.
      This might explain why some older drivers (Alonso, Hamilton) are apparently coping better with the decline in reaction time than others (Vettel, Ricciardo).
      It might also be that some drivers are relying less on reaction times and have become so skilful and intuitive in their driving that reaction times play less of a role.

    2. I don’t think you need too much technical analysis to understand Daniel is focused on side projects, his ego might be outweighing his talent as he’s up against a younger better driver. He probably thought he would be quicker than Lando, based on his own hype and the yes men around him, only to find a highly focused and ambitious driver that might be just a touch faster than him and had that burning hunger to prove himself. That burning hunger is the difference between the very best and the average in sports.

  6. I don’t question Norris’ intentions, but I think being helpful to your F1 teammate because he’s struggling so much might be the biggest mind game there is!

    Nothing worse than being pitied.

    1. Yeah that was my feeling to upon reading that bit too @vvans

    2. @vvans Absolutely, especially when you factor in age and culture. Aussies have a very long rivalry with the British / English in sports, most of the Australian heroes are those that beat the English. I can imagine Daniel gritting his teeth as Lando explains how he is faster, better and more capable. He must be seething through that smile.

      1. Ricciardo sends his apologies for running over your cat, @jasonj.
        Now you can stop being so bitter and start being a little more objective.

    3. I don’t question his intentions either.
      He and RIC are not buddies – Lando has rubbed it in RIC’s face often and the latter would to him except he has not been competitive with NOR.
      Now all of a sudden he wants to “help” him? Why? It’s obvious – he doesn’t want him to leave. Why?
      Because he realizes that he may well be teammates with another Aussie next year who is even younger than him, and potentially as good or better than him.
      It’s too soon too tell, but if PIA lives up to his hype, this could be another ALO and HAM 2007 scene.
      PIA is certainly full of himself, much like Max – very aggressive.
      I think the pressure will increase by an order of magnitude on Lando next year if PIA is his teammate.
      I also think Zak is making a mistake pairing two young, talented drivers. A good problem to have I guess.
      It should make it very interesting next year.

      1. Mmmmm, that would be very interesting, although you also need a competitive mclaren to have a repeat of 2007, I don’t see such a rivalry happening on a midfield team.

  7. The pay-out aspect is interesting, but the disputed matter itself is still somewhat messy & could get even messier.

    Next season’s calendar formation has seemingly proved difficult, but the schedule will come out eventually.

    COTD raises an interesting & possibly valid point.

  8. Surely adapting the car to suit Ricciardo’s driving style costs less than $21 million and would be a better investment ?

    1. Probably could do it for that but the budget cap can’t be extended with funds from the driver’s pay.

    2. They’ve already made it clear that they are focusing on Norris for the longer term. The worse the changes to the car make Ricciardo look, the more they develop it for Norris.
      Ricciardo’s found himself in the Red Bull situation again.

      Going back to Renault would probably be the best thing for him…. Or to Indycar….

  9. Oh to be a fly on the wall in the Alpine & McLaren pit garages @ Spa!!

    1. @ancient1 Same or just plain invisible.

  10. I can’t see Danny Ric not taking the money. Forcing McLaren to honour his contract for next just isn’t really an option. I think Jenson said something along the lines of “there’s no point driving for a team you know doesn’t want you.”

  11. I too wonder why dani is soo uncompetitive in the mclaren. But i also understand that f1 machines are not like our cars. Their design and driveability are completely different to what we that dont race and especially have never sat in an f1 car can imagine or understand. To say the car does not suite Dani is an over simplification of a very complex problem.

    1. It’s simple, but that’s just because it’s right.
      It’s not specific to F1, either. It’s part of every motor racing type and style.

      The bottom line for a driver and their team is always that if you give the driver what they want from the car, they’ll perform better in it. The two components (driver and car) have to be in sync, or neither will perform at their best.

      1. The two components (driver and car) have to be in sync, or neither will perform at their best.

        That’s correct, but you oversimplify it by not including the following considerations:
        1) teams will always go for the faster driver & car combination (If Ricciardo’s synced care were faster than Norris’ then he would’ve had the car to his liking and the two contract extentions);
        2) some drivers are simply better that adapting to the various characteristics of the car, whereas other seem to only excel in one type of car.

        1. The problem with 1) is that you don’t know which is ‘faster’ until you thoroughly develop things in both directions. Not one iteration, but dozens – and not limited to the virtual world, either.
          As development resources are not infinite in F1 (anymore) teams necessarily have to sacrifice one driver to assist the other, unless they miraculously have two drivers with exceedingly similar preferences and styles.

          And 2) is true to an extent – everyone is adapting and compensating all time – but it is still reliant on how much adaptation actually needs to be done.
          It is true to say that all drivers perform at less than their best when they aren’t comfortable or don’t feel confident in the car.
          On that point – a driver who prefers a pointy car tends to be a more confident and adaptable driver overall, anyway. That’s not a skill, that’s a trait – and isn’t something a driver can learn.

          Alonso is generally regarded as one of the most adaptable drivers in F1 in recent history, and yet look at his last McLaren run…. The car was just bad and no amount of adaptation could save it.

          1. Alonso is generally regarded as one of the most adaptable drivers in F1 in recent history, and yet look at his last McLaren run…. The car was just bad and no amount of adaptation could save it.

            Alonso’s performance was still well regarded those years; he was #4 in the year-end ranking on this site from 2017-2019, even though he was stuck at 10-15 in the WDC.

            And based on that I’m pretty confident that teams can identify the quality of the various drivers (traits and/or skills) before they decide in which direction to develop their car.

          2. Ratings on this site are nothing more than opinions.
            As for the teams – they are mostly just guessing too. Sometimes it works out for them, and sometimes it doesn’t. How many drivers have come into F1 as the supposed next greatest driver ever only to never have a car that suits them, and results that show that?
            Nobody can know what will happen when a car and driver are combined until it actually happens.

            Look at Haas a couple of years ago – Their computers were telling them how much faster they’d be with all their upgrades, but neither of their drivers improved – they were actually going backwards. Grosjean was even telling them they were flat out wrong, but they wouldn’t listen.
            And while we can say “Yeah, well, that’s Haas…” – the other teams are using the same methods to make decisions.

            How well would Tiger Woods have done with somebody else’s clubs? They were always (as a Pro) made exclusively for him and the way he prefers them to be, allowing him to optimise his style and performance consistently. He’d still be a talented golfer with a different set, but you’d never actually know what he’s capable of until he’s comfortable…
            How does a jockey seem when he’s on an uncooperative horse? How well does a pool player go with a bent, poorly weighted cue? Can you accurately judge the performance of a 10-pin bowler when they are using an overweight ball with undersized finger holes?
            I, too, have opinions on the ‘quality’ of drivers just as every other human viewer does.
            But I’m always aware that the driver’s performance and results in motorsport aren’t ever really just down to the driver. They aren’t running the 100m or doing a long jump – they are half (or less) of a partnership of man and machine. An extremely complex combination with an intensely close relationship where each affects the other – more so to the negative than the positive.

          3. I absolutely disagree, it’s not about what the team says, it’s about his performance relative to his team mate, the only real comparison we can make: the car was terrible and alonso got the maximum out of it, that’s the impression it gave, ricciardo can’t have been getting the max out of the mclaren!

    2. All F1 drivers can get quite close to the limits of their cars. The best can find those limits pretty much all the time. The Benetton-Renault cars in the mid 1990s cars were very fast, but infamously hard to drive at that pace. Schumacher could make it work and won the title in 1995, but when he left it leading to many confused engineers when new drivers Berger and Alesi noted the car was (paraphrasing) rather terrible in 1996. I think Alesi actually called it ‘toxic’.

      The problem Ricciardo has seems to be that McLaren’s development philosophy has made a car whose characteristics fall outside his range of what he can work with. Or rather, with which he can really get to that limit. The differences are still only tenths of a second, after all. Räikkönen was undoubtedly one of the fastest drivers of his generation, but he had a notably limited range and as a result had a few awkwardly bad seasons as well. On the other hand, a guy like Alonso seems to go fast pretty much all the time.

  12. Nice Michelin press release – “They’re the only 18-inch tyre to feature in a single-seater FIA world championship” – Really?

  13. Ricciardo should sign a 1 year contract for a pound and then he gets 21 million with Mclaren getting a pound back and for security he should get a 2 yr option for himself like 8 m ill a year Mclaren be fuming

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