“I think this is my best chance”- Daniel Ricciardo feels confident for his spell with McLaren, and might even contest for the championship.
Daniel Ricciardo has always been regarded as one of the best Formula 1 drivers of this generation, but still fell short of Mercedes dominance. After his spell with Red Bull, he never had the resources at Renault to challenge for the title.
The Australian firmly believes that a career like his needs a championship title tag, as many several wins, undoubtedly decorates his statistics. Ahead of his move to McLaren, he has an optimistic feeling about his Championship chances.
“I didn’t ever want to get to F1 only to get to F1 – I wanted to be world champion, and I still do. McLaren, with the way they’re progressing, feels like the best chance for me to be able to do that, maybe the best chance I’ve had.
“You never know in this sport, but I’m confident I’m in the right place. Can I sit here and say that I can fight for a world championship next year? Who knows, but I feel confident that I’m in the right place to give myself a good shot at it.
“You can see McLaren’s pathway to getting better, and I feel McLaren is ready for me to be one of the elements they haven’t had to help them win.”
2018 move to McLaren was too early
It took two years of constant contact by McLaren to convince Ricciardo to join them, as in 2018 when Renault announced his arrival; even McLaren was in his pursuit.
But Ricciardo claims that McLaren was nowhere near to what it is today, and even Zak Brown admitted the shortcomings of the team, and the move needed the right time.
“Two years ago, they didn’t have the results on the board, and the path to achieving them wasn’t there,” Ricciardo says, adding that Brown acknowledged some shortfalls within the team’s infrastructure that needed to be improved.
“Zak was pretty upfront that they needed to reshuffle some things and recruit some key people. He said he would, and he was as good as his word,” Ricciardo says.
“When I was talking to them in ’18, James hadn’t come into the team yet, and Andreas was a ways away. There wasn’t enough substance about the approach, and even Zak recognised that. But you could feel it changing in the second half of 2019, and we stayed in communication.
“Coming to the races late in 2019, even walking into the paddock, there was a feeling even among us competitors that ‘whoa, McLaren are seriously starting to get it together’. They were having good performances and had good energy around them, and as a competitor, I felt that.”