New McLaren Formula 1 driver, Daniel Ricciardo, plans to hit the ground running in what will be his maiden season with the Woking-based team.
McLaren are hopeful that the addition of Daniel Ricciardo to their driver line-up will help bolster their chances of competing with the top tier teams.
McLaren secured third in the Constructors’ Championship in 2020, their best placement in recent years. And, while it is unlikely the team pushes their way past the likes of Mercedes and Red Bull this year. It is on the cards to be competing at the highest level in upcoming seasons. Especially with new regulations just over the horizon.
Already a proven grand prix winner at Red Bull, Ricciardo brings the knowledge and know-how of what is required from not only a winning driver, but also team.
Speaking at McLaren’s MCL35M launch, Ricciardo was excited to finally be embedded with the team. As well as emphasising the momentum that has carried over from last year.
“It feels pretty awesome to finally be a McLaren Driver,” Ricciardo said. “The deal was done back in May last year and I can finally speak about it and speak to it with a lot of optimism and happiness.
“I think just being here at the MTC [McLaren Technology Centre] has been an awesome couple of weeks already and obviously can’t wait to get in the car. The team finished so strong last year and I feel that kind of momentum here. So ready to put in some work and keep it going.”
Another year, another teammate
2021 will see Ricciardo pair with up-and-comer Lando Norris. After scoring his first F1 podium in 2020, Norris will look to continue his climb up the driver ladder.
Hailed as one of the most exciting driver line-ups on the grid, Ricciardo and Norris should be able to lockdown a healthy quantity of points for McLaren.
The relationship between the two and the expected competition was not something lost on Ricciardo.
“With Lando it’s another new teammate for this year,” Ricciardo continued. “So this is now into his third season with the team. So it’s funny, I think we’re 10 years apart, so I’m obviously a lot older. But in McLaren terms he’s a lot older than me.
“But I think we’re obviously going to have a very good relationship on and off the track. I think we both bring a bit of a kind of similar dynamic but from different generations. So I think that that combination will be quite cool. And yeah, I think we’re going to be equally competitive.”
McLaren, fans and of course Ricciardo hold high hopes for what he will bring to the table in 2021. And, while the Australian did concede it will take some time to adjust to a new team and new car. He won’t be giving himself too much time between the stages of learning and contributing.
“I think what I expect out of myself in 2021 is to really hit the ground running,” Ricciardo concluded. “Naturally is does take some time to learn a new team, a new car. But I guess I’m going to be hard on myself not to give myself too much time. I don’t want to be naïve, but I also want to just make sure I’m leaving no stone unturned and really make by the end of the year feel like I’ve had a big contribution to the team moving forward and closing the gap.”