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Daniel Ricciardo

Exclusive: Ricciardo on how McLaren 'DNA' differs to Red Bull and Renault

Speaking exclusively to RacingNews365.com, Daniel Ricciardo has opened up on how he believes the design "DNA" of the McLaren differs to cars he has driven during his Formula 1 career.

Ricciardo Saudi
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Daniel Ricciardo has highlighted a different "DNA" in terms of how teams design their Formula 1 cars, which affects the confidence a driver has in their machine.

Ricciardo notably struggled to adjust to life with the 2021 McLaren MCL35M, the first year in which the Australian was often overshadowed by a teammate as Lando Norris constantly fought towards the front of the field.

Ricciardo would go on to score a win during a much more competitive showing at the Italian Grand Prix, before slipping back again towards the end of the season.

His struggles with the car were attributed to it demanding a driving style that he found difficult to adjust to, due to some unique characteristics of McLaren's design philosophy with their cars.

What strengths were in the Red Bull DNA?

Ricciardo revealed that, when he first arrived at McLaren, his initial conversations with the engineers showed that what he experienced at the wheel was something other McLaren drivers had encountered – over the course of a decade.

"From my experience, there is some [DNA carryover]," Ricciardo told RacingNews365.com, when asked whether he felt a team's car can have certain inherent characteristics, regardless of the season.

"When I got to McLaren, a lot of the stuff I gave feedback on, they said, 'Yes, this has been something that we've heard for the last 10 years'.

"So there are some areas where, maybe, there is some DNA in the car."

Referring to his years with Red Bull, in which he developed his reputation for being king of the late-brakers, Ricciardo said the characteristics of those cars played to his strengths.

"I think the Red Bull was always pretty strong on braking, and that was there for the five years I was there, no matter what the regulations did," he explained.

"I felt like that was in the DNA of the car."

Does the design team affect that DNA?

While Red Bull had a largely consistent design team, with Adrian Newey and Rob Marshall overseeing the designs during Ricciardo's tenure, Renault went through an overhaul of their technical department during the two seasons Ricciardo raced for them.

This might explain why Ricciardo felt a lack of carryover between the 2019 and 2020 Renault cars.

"I think that the Renault changed quite drastically in the two years that I was there, so [there was] no obvious DNA going on there.

"For sure the designer always has a big part [in that]."

McLaren make brake changes for 2022

One major consideration of Ricciardo's switch from Renault to McLaren was him needing to adjust to a different brake supplier.

While Red Bull and Renault both used Brembo systems, McLaren's 2021 machine used Japan's Akebono.

With McLaren switching to AP Racing for 2022, a subsidiary of Brembo, Ricciardo is hopeful of being able to find more confidence on the brakes under the new technical era beginning this season.

"I think so. I think at least an element of it," Ricciardo said, when asked if he can recover some of his edge.

"I think there is probably some attributed to the Akebono. But I think there's still an element of this car, at least last year, that the characteristics didn't allow me to trail the brakes really aggressively.

"So it was probably a combination of not having the feel, and then maybe an aero characteristic of the car, but I have confidence that we're alright."

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