Ricciardo confident RB F1 struggles “not a McLaren situation”

The Australian was dropped by McLaren at the end of 2022 after struggling to come to terms with the car across two difficult seasons in which he lagged behind Lando Norris.

Thus far in 2024 he has been overshadowed by Tsunoda, who has twice made Q3 and finished seventh in Australia.

However Ricciardo insists that he is in a much better position at RB than he was at McLaren, and is close to having all the pieces fall into place.

“We’re chasing a little bit of as always downforce, a bit of rear grip,” he said when asked by Autosport in Japan about his situation.

“To be honest, I struggled a little bit in the high speed in Melbourne and Saudi.

“Saudi we did see we were down a bit, so we kind of felt like we had a bit of an explanation for that. But it was still the case in Melbourne through kind of Turn 9 and 10, where I was down a bit compared to Yuki.

“I think we probably focus a little bit of our set-up on those areas to give me that confidence. And then I think the low and medium speed stuff, we’re pretty much there.

“It’s not a McLaren situation. So I think it’s just important now that I just keep working with my engineers, and we don’t start taking too many suggestions or advice from the outside.

Daniel Ricciardo, Visa Cash App RB F1 Team

Daniel Ricciardo, Visa Cash App RB F1 Team

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

“Of course, I would have wanted more results from the first few races, I’m not happy with it. But it’s important that we just stay on course, ultimately, and don’t get sidetracked.”

Ricciardo says any pressure to perform that he faces in his first full season back in F1 is largely self-imposed, having returned to racing mid-season in 2023 replacing the ousted Nyck de Vries.

“I say yes,” he said when asked if felt he was under pressure. “But my answer is it is from me, more than anyone. I’m sure there is from the outside.

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“But I came into this season having a full pre-season, I had a really good winter, I trained my butt off, and I feel really good. So everything in my head and through my years of experience tells me that we should start the season firing on all cylinders.

“So yeah, that’s where I’m like, ‘okay, it hasn’t really happened yet’. And it’s been three races.

“But I know that I don’t need to change anything, it’ll come. It’s just a little bit here and there.

“Whatever is maybe just missing at the moment will click, and I think it’s one it’s one weekend away from that.

“Even Melbourne, obviously, I was probably disappointed on paper with the weekend, of course, and not getting points, and the quali and all that. But when we kind of analyse the race, it wasn’t as sad as it probably looked or seemed.

“We had good race pace. And I think there are some good things that we’re taking, we just need to put it together now. And that I will do.

Daniel Ricciardo, RB F1 Team VCARB 01

Daniel Ricciardo, RB F1 Team VCARB 01

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

“I said I would in Melbourne, and I fell short. But I will do it this weekend.”

Ricciardo has previously hinted that something might be awry with his car, and he confirmed that the team has swapped some parts in an attempt to trace any issues.

“Since Saudi, we changed a few things,” he said. “And then probably for China, we’ll change a few more things.

“We’re obviously trying to make sure that everything is good and there are no flaws in anything. And it’s just obviously for us peace of mind, because we have obviously explored quite a bit.

“I jumped in last year and I was on the pace straight away in Budapest and this year feels like I’m a little bit behind, with better prep and more experience with the car and the team.

“So that’s why we’re just making sure that we’re not missing something that is kind of out of our control for now.”

Watch: F1 2024 Japanese Grand Prix Preview — Everything You Need To Know

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