Daniel Ricciardo Explains His “Theory” Behind McLaren F1 Struggles

Published 04/30/2021, 4:18 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit – Portimao, Portugal – April 29, 2021 McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo during the press conference Pool via REUTERS/Gabriel Bouys


The 2021 F1 season has proven to be incredibly difficult for drivers, including Daniel Ricciardo, who jumped onto entirely new teams. What’s more, this season, in particular, had quite a lot of changes to the grid, with some big names joining different outfits.

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And of course, it isn’t unusual to witness such jumbles in F1, but what is causing the unexpected struggles to these drivers? Why are they finding it difficult to get up to speed this season? Well, Ricciardo has a theory about it.

Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy – April 16, 2021 McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo in action during practice REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

The Australian reckoned F1 induced quite a lot of regulation changes to the cars of the 2021 season, unlike the past few seasons.

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And this may be the root cause behind the evident struggles for experienced drivers; Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Carlos Sainz, and Ricciardo himself, being prime examples. Hence, he opined that it might take longer than usual for the drivers to get used to their new cars.

What did Daniel Ricciardo say?

During the press conference in Portimao, Ricciardo opened up that the drivers with new teams in 2021 may have a lot more learning to do than usual.

It’s just getting used to the new car,” he said. “I think it’s because over the last few years there hasn’t been that many- This is just a theory I’m making up on the spot. But because there hasn’t really been many rule changes. Like the cars are fairly similar. 

Everyone’s just able to get to a very high level and get very comfortable and familiar with their surroundings. So to speak,” Ricciardo continued.

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So yeah. I think jumping into another team and trying to learn something, not from scratch but probably from halfway. When the level is so high, it shows the gap. So, I don’t know if that makes sense. But that’s probably my theory for now.”

Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen celebrates finishing first with third-placed, McLaren’s Lando Norris on the podium REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

It has been a rather slow start for Ricciardo this season, despite possessing an incredibly pacy car in hand. And the McLaren‘s potential has been pretty evident in the hands of Lando Norris. The Briton ended up securing the first podium of the season for himself and the team.

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Hence, how long is the Australian going to take before joining his teammate for more such glories this season? Well, only time will tell.

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Rohit Kumar

1264 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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