Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Spa-Francorchamps, 2022

Ricciardo’s race compromised by old-spec rear wing after fault

2022 Belgian Grand Prix

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Daniel Ricciardo had to race the Belgian Grand Prix without McLaren’s new, low downforce rear wing after a problem developed on his new wing on Saturday.

McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl explained why Ricciardo appeared to be running more downforce than team mate Lando Norris, falling from seventh on the grid to 15th at the finish.

“On Daniel’s side, we had an issue with the latest rear wing and we only had two for this event here,” Seidl explained. “So we had to go back to an older rear wing, which meant slightly more downforce and therefore a bit less top speed, which wasn’t what we wanted to run, clearly.

“Independent of that, it doesn’t matter which downforce level, unfortunately with these conditions today we simply didn’t have the pace. We were struggling with traction, for example, out of turn one [La Source] especially. Therefore, we were never really in a position to move forward or to gain a position to overtake – even lost some positions getting overtaken.”

It was “just not a good day for us”, Seidl concluded.

Ricciardo said he was “simply just weren’t quick on the straights” after a “fault” meant he couldn’t used his lower-downforce rear wing. “We had to put a different wing on because our race spec one had a bit of an issue. So we knew today was probably going to hurt us on the straights just with more drag.”

However Ricciardo believes it wasn’t just the choice of rear wing which made overtaking difficult for him at Spa. “I don’t think I was the only one struggling to pass on the straights.

“I think I had speed to use in the second sector. But then first and third, even with DRS I couldn’t pass. So [it was a] pretty long and frustrating race, it just felt like we were just waiting for a mistake.”

“I said on the radio, obviously I’m trying but unless they make a mistake in front, it’s literally impossible to pass,” Ricciardo added.

“The good thing about this year is you can race closer, but the bad thing is the tow effect is smaller. So actually on a track like this it I felt like it made overtaking more tricky.”

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2022 Belgian Grand Prix

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....
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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5 comments on “Ricciardo’s race compromised by old-spec rear wing after fault”

  1. He was also hampered by his own team with their final pit strategy, allowing Norris the undercut while holding Ricciardo out for too long.
    And not for the first time, either.

    1. If by holding Daniel out you mean the team calling him to pit in order to undercut Albon and Daniel refusing and stating he will stay out for 3 more laps … you are right. Lando got the undercut on Daniel because he was stuck behind Albon and going nowhere. Also because the car lacked the straight line speed they had little options available.

      I agree McLaren had some weird strategic calls this year but in this case it’s more on Daniel than any conspiracy against him.

      1. No conspiracy here – just stating a reality.
        The undercut had been working all weekend in every category, and the *only* reason to pit Norris ahead of Ricciardo (opposing their on-track order) is to put Norris ahead.
        No big deal – McLaren made it clear before they even hired Ricciardo that Norris was their future. Nobody is expecting them to put their preferences anywhere else, least of all now that Ricciardo’s contract has been bought out.

      2. They didn’t call him in to undercut Albon, they told him to run alternate to Albon – if Albon pitted, Ricciardo would stay out. Once that had happened, it seems to have been Ricciardo’s call to run a bit longer because he could maintain his pace for a few more laps. But his engineer really should have been updating him about how powerful the undercut was – running the extra laps seems to have been an issue of poor communication from pit to driver (not the first time in recent memory this has been an issue for McLaren).

  2. I wonder how many other ‘faults’ McLaren has not fessed up to this season.

    Piastri should have stuck with Alpine.

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