Is Ricardo threatened in the end? McLaren star does not live up to expectations

Updated on 05/27/2022 at 16:59

  • Daniel Ricciardo sees no ground against his McLaren teammate Lando Norris.
  • Ricciardo’s contract with McLaren appears to be expiring after this season.
  • And now the Australian McLaren boss counts, too. Is it endangered?

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Perhaps Daniel Ricciardo knew very quickly that he had made a mistake. He was asked if she had already had talks with McLaren in 2023. “No, but I’m sure we’ll talk before the summer break,” he said. So he doesn’t have a contract until the end of 2023 as he’s supposed to? Otherwise, you wouldn’t have to talk, right? When asked about it, he said, “It’s true.” “So you made me answer something that I don’t need to answer. So maybe I meant the summer of 2023?”

Good try, but too late: Suspicions arose that when he switched to McLaren before the 2021 season, he may not have signed a three-year contract as suspected, but perhaps only a two-season contract plus another option.

More pressure

His “confession” means that he is now putting himself under a little more pressure, because from now on, wild speculation is wide open. He’s been heating him up with his performance for weeks anyway.

The big question: Is the 32-year-old, who a few years ago was still considered the next world champion at Red Bull Racing, at McLaren before the finish? Since switching to the traditional racing team, Ricciardo hasn’t accomplished much, especially in direct comparison to his teammate Lando Norris.

The verbal cuddling cycle within the team is now over, as is the period of rest or acclimatization. Ricciardo celebrated McLaren’s famous win at Monza in 2021, and the rest wasn’t enough for a man with his ambitions. He lost to Norris by points 115:160, and although the Briton didn’t win, he made four places on the podium.

Expectations did not come true

“Apart from Monza and some races, our expectations have not yet been met,” McLaren boss Zak Brown says on Sky Sports very clearly. “All we can do is work hard as a team, talk things through, push and hopefully click what’s needed soon.”

Brown said Norris is “definitely” in better shape now. The final proof finally came in Barcelona when Ricciardo finished 12th. Norris finished eighth with hay fever and tonsillitis. “We would like Daniel to be a lot closer to Lando and we’ll have a good internal fight with the team,” Brown said. “Daniel is not feeling comfortable in the car yet. We’re trying everything we can.”

But the plague continues this season, and Barcelona has been the low starting point for a protracted crisis. 11:39 between Ricciardo and Norris in points, 1:5 in qualifying and 2:4 in the races. In six races he did not finish in points five times. The Australian is only ahead in the salary comparison: Ricciardo is said to earn $15 million, and Norris is five. An imbalance and a backpack for Ricardo as long as he doesn’t deliver.

Read also: Lando Norris: How the young F1 superstar battled mental problems

Ricardo sounds the alarm

Ricciardo said Barcelona was a race in which he hoped something might go wrong: “You hope you find something and be able to say, ‘Oh, that was the problem’.” More disturbing: “I wasn’t just missing a tenth or two. Sometimes I felt like I was missing more than a second.”

Former Formula 1 driver Martin Brundle addressed the problem in his “Sky” column in plain words: “McLaren and Daniel Ricciardo must be very concerned about the lack of speed. Something has to change.”

Read also: Formula 1: Address thrown? The unfortunate escape of Daniel Ricciardo and Red Bull

And if nothing changes on the track, maybe in terms of individuals. Because a replacement will be found quickly. Huge talent Oscar Piastre is under contract with Alpine, but can be loaned out. McLaren works with IndyCar drivers Pato O’Ward and Colton Herta. Given the limited opportunities for advancement in the AlphaTauri, Pierre Gasly could also quickly become an option. Ricardo doesn’t have to wait long for answers. Because whether it’s a two-year contract or three-year contract – given the crisis, the talks will probably take place very soon.

Sources used:

  • Sky Sports interview: Daniel Ricciardo: McLaren CEO Zak Brown says driver does not meet team expectations
  • Press Conference

The search for world champion Max Verstappen began in Bahrain on March 20. After the Russian Grand Prix was canceled, the racing calendar included 22 world championship races, as in the previous year. Ten teams compete under changing regulations. German drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mick Schumacher are under particular pressure.

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