Ricciardo endured a difficult 2021 marketing campaign with McLaren as he struggled to get as comfy with the dealing with of the Woking-based group’s automotive as team-mate Lando Norris.
Whereas each squad and driver made an honest quantity of progress over the course of the yr, they nonetheless didn’t attain some extent the place they might suppose the issues had all been solved.
Nonetheless, following the primary take a look at of the brand new floor impact F1 2022 automobiles, McLaren technical director James Key thinks the change of idea has wiped away among the inherent weaknesses that emerged along with his group’s earlier challengers.
Crucial to this has been a step away from the aero element of the previous automobiles to a extra easy platform the place groups shouldn’t have as a lot freedom for complicated designs.
“I’d say general, it has been perhaps even a better automotive to drive to this point,” defined Key concerning the early verdict of the brand new McLaren.
“I feel while you have a look at the way in which we’re producing downforce, we have large form of brute drive objects: an enormous entrance wing, and an enormous ground, which could be very highly effective.
“There’s far much less complexity above all that. And I feel while you’ve acquired form of the brute drive aerodynamics, reasonably than the very refined fiddly aerodynamics we had final yr, you are extra more likely to get a extra steady working platform, since you’re utilizing huge surfaces reasonably than tremendous element.
“I feel that is most likely helped us a bit bit in that respect, in comparison with final yr. Total, I’d say we have taken a step in the proper path, however for certain, there’s nonetheless some work to do.”
Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL36
Picture by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
The primary take a look at in Spain was an encouraging one for McLaren, with each Ricciardo and Norris posting aggressive occasions within the new MCL36.
Key reckons that the group has managed to refine its package deal to do away with main areas of considerations that had dominated its ideas lately.
“I feel the place we have to, is there are actually McLaren traits, it does really feel like a McLaren,” he mentioned. “But it surely’s not the extremes that we had earlier than.
“We are able to see that strengths and weaknesses are starting to emerge. And we’re clearly taking a look at the place we will try to enhance the weaknesses, however I believe the weaknesses, that are just like everybody, like trip top sensitivity, is an element for all groups.
“I feel basically, each drivers have sort of acquired on with the automotive okay, there’s been no main considerations up to now. However let’s have a look at how we go in Bahrain at a unique monitor, and so forth.”
Key mentioned McLaren was conscious of sure weaknesses its previous automotive had – resembling its efficiency in slower pace corners – however says the complexity of the previous guidelines meant it was all the time laborious to unravel issues with out triggering additional points.
“We may see within the information what strengths and weak spot have been,” he mentioned.
“However given the complexity of those automobiles, significantly with the earlier aerodynamics and setup choices, there was no silver bullet. You needed to develop your means out of them.
James Key, Technical Director, McLaren, on the pit wall
Picture by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images
“You could possibly have had years of this sort of legacy behaviour occurring, which might have knocked you again considerably on downforce to take away them.
“It’s a kind of horrible sort of trades the place you inch in the direction of it reasonably than leap in the direction of it.
“Given the recent alternative of the brand new automotive, it was a superb alternative to not fall into the lure of getting the unfavorable behaviours, which we have been conserving a detailed eye on.
“It is to not say we have solved a few of these issues, however actually with a brand new alternative we have been very conscious of what we wanted to work on.”