Despite a difficult start to the 2022 F1 season, Daniel Ricciardo still has strong beliefs that McLaren could take a trophy, admitting that he “wouldn’t be surprised” is the team gained performance later in the year.
Obviously, Ricciardo has huge trust in his team to make huge performance improvements to the MCL36 throughout the year after McLaren ending P14 and P15 in Bahrain, and P7 and a DNF at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. To become a trophy winning car, serious upgrades will need to be made to see it fighting with the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari.
Despite this, Ricciardo still has unparalleled confidence in his car:
“If it comes, it will come a bit later than certainly desired,” he told The Race.
“But without getting ahead [of ourselves], if we were to come and win a race at some point this year, I wouldn’t actually be surprised because I still believe in the team and the process we have in place and the people we have in place to get the job done.
“I have 100% faith and belief in people like Andreas [Seidl, team principal].
“[Bahrain] was a bit of a crisis mode. I think we’ve got ourselves out of that, but it’s true we’ve got to turn this ship around and I think he’s at least one of the best guys to do it.
“So ask me in six months’ time and I might not be surprised where we are.”
Of course, the Australian driver is wanting to stay optimistic for both himself and his team as it suffers with a number of issues that have plagued his cars from pre-season testing to Saudi Arabia.
“Look, if in two races time we’re fighting for a top five, then OK we’ll take it and that’s a bonus.
“But I think mentally to remain calm and chill and level-headed and sensible, you need to realise we are not looking for three or four tenths. It’s over a second if we want to fight for wins.
“I doubt it’s going to come overnight so we’ve got to be patient. And I think as well for the wellness of the team, it’s important to do that and [it’s] too early to cause a ruckus.”
McLaren is still looking to complete fixes that were affecting cooling, but Ricciardo assures fans that Bahrain was a “bogey” track that didn’t work with the car:
“[The Saudi Arabia form] I would put down to circuit characteristics,” he said.
“I’m really hoping that Bahrain was a bit of a bogey situation for us.
“We didn’t really have much [new in Saudi Arabia], we cleaned up a few things in terms of even still stuff with the brakes but I think it was just the circuit suited us.
“Australia is flowing so perhaps that comes to us again and maybe we could fight for points.
“I know that’s not aiming very high, but that’s really all we can aim for now until we get some big updates.
“Anything inside the top 10 we’ll take as a little victory for now.”