Daniel Ricciardo eyes McLaren return after rule changes, regulations and pre-season testing

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Daniel Ricciardo believes F1’s seismic rule changes for 2022 will play into his hands as he aims to bounce back from a disappointing first season at McLaren.

The Aussie reached the ultimate pinnacle of victory at Monza last season but otherwise struggled to keep pace with junior team-mate Lando Norris, who finished 45 points clear in the drivers standings.

But a rule overhaul that will dramatically simplify aerodynamics and, in theory, make tighter racing possible could see Ricciardo turn the tide.

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Widely regarded as one of the best wheel-to-wheel racers on the field, Ricciardo licks his lips on the shifts.

“Hopefully it increases (overtaking),” Ricciardo said of the rule changes when McLaren launched the car.

“Over the years, of course, I still made a few moves, but I wasn’t always the guy who made the best moves.

“In a way it’s down to the way the cars were sometimes; they’re so fast, you brake so late and it’s so hard to get close to another car – so getting the moves right was just tricky.

“So now if it allows us to be closer, to have a bit more braking zone, hopefully we have to brake a bit earlier on these cars and buy ourselves a bit more distance to work with. ”

“I think it will not only promote more overtaking, but more chances for the big double-C DRI to come back.”

Ricciardo wants tighter fields in ’22 | 00:58

The cars will no longer feature complex aerodynamic designs – primarily by removing bargeboards and reducing components on the front wing – and instead rely heavily on underbody tunnels to generate downforce.

The desired result is less turbulent – ​​or “dirty” – air the rear car has to deal with, as has been a growing problem over the past decade.

Less dirty air means more downforce for the trailing car, which will make close racing a more regular feature in 2022.

Accustomed to diving late on the brakes, Ricciardo takes advantage of his aggressive style.

That’s not the only reason the Aussie is excited about a new season.

‘WE WOULD LOVE TO GIVE HIM THIS

The 32-year-old had little sway over the 2021 McLaren challenger who had just left Renault at the end of 2020, while the team’s mid-season attention quickly turned to this car. year due to drastic regulatory changes.

But Ricciardo revealed he had contributed significantly to the development of this year’s car – and had little hindsight from Norris, suggesting he will be much more comfortable in the cockpit.

“I’m not one to walk into the room and throw things around and say, ‘This has to change.’ I’m going to do it in a productive way,” Ricciardo said.

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“From the start, as soon as I got in the car, I was relaying information about ‘that’s what’s different compared to the Renault, the Red Bull’, so I was already feeding some kind of information.

“Then as we went deeper into the races, I still wasn’t performing as well as I thought I would, so I was a bit stronger. But as I said before, the silver lining was that Lando also agreed with this.

“But to make a long story short…the team also recognized that ‘that’s a strength of Daniel: he’s proven to be very fast, so we’d like to give him that so we can get the most out of Daniel’. “

Pre-season testing starts in Barcelona on February 23.

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