Daniel Ricciardo is hopeful of being in prime position for a shot at the title, as McLaren aim to compete for the World Championship by 2024.
McLaren CEO Zak Brown recently announced that while the Woking-based team are still a couple of years away from seriously competing with Red Bull and Mercedes, they have managed to close the gap somewhat.
And, with some of the current infrastructure receiving a long overdue update at the McLaren Technology Centre, along with the upcoming addition of the wind tunnel, Brown noted there was no reason they couldn’t be truly up there competing by 2024.
“I understand that the team is on a great trajectory,” Ricciardo said. “But now there are still a few hurdles in place that are probably going to stop us, let’s say, fighting for a championship for the next year or two.
“But it is a bit of a reality now that the wind tunnel is a pretty big piece of the puzzle. It might be the last piece of the puzzle for the team.
“I think me, looking at it now, I really look to just to try and keep building on where I am now over the next couple of years with McLaren, and then hopefully put myself in a prime spot for that ’24 season.
“It sounds crazy to talk that far ahead. But yeah, sometimes you’ve got to think like that.”
However, Ricciardo does have a couple of hurdles to jump prior to being in that ‘prime spot’ in 2024. The first of which is that he is only signed to McLaren until the end of the 2023 F1 season. The second problem, which will also directly impact the first, is his current form.
The Australian has struggled since making the switch to McLaren earlier this year. The gap between himself and teammate Lando Norris is not a small one. With the 21-year-old outdriving Ricciardo in all facets of the sport.
While the introduction of the new regulations for 2022 will provide Ricciardo with a brand new car, which theoretically should be easier to drive, he is going to have to prove himself over the coming two seasons if he has any hope of McLaren retaining him for 2024 and beyond.
Since leaving Red Bull at the end of 2018, Ricciardo has been competing against the top teams, rather than with. A move away from the top level of competition has forced him to take a different approach and mindset, while setting different goals and targets to aim towards.
“In a way you have to change a little bit,” he continued. “I don’t know its mindset, goals, target, but you have to create different victories in your mind where a victory might not always be first place.
“Going back to last year a victory at Renault was getting that car onto the podium. I knew if I was able to do that would give me that satisfaction.
“So ultimately, yes, nothing beats winning and that’s what I signed up for when I was young trying to do all this.
“I know you’re only going to win if you’re in that top team or maybe those four cars a year. If you’re not, you’ve got to set other targets for yourself and keep your stock high, keep your motivation high.
“It’s probably the only sport in the world that has such a low win percentage. Like… I’ll refer to a team sport – 50 percent of the time you’re winning. Where F1, I dunno, my win ratio is probably like two percent or something. It’s crazy. You find other ways to enjoy it I guess.”