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Daniel Ricciardo

RB confirm reason for Ricciardo chassis change

Daniel Ricciardo has endured an underwhelming start to the F1 season but is due to receive a new chassis for the Chinese Grand Prix – something he has been calling for. However, RB don’t believe changing chassis is a “performance differentiator”.

Ricciardo Permane
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RB sporting director Alan Permane has explained the thinking behind the team providing Daniel Ricciardo with a new chassis for the Chinese Grand Prix.

Speaking to media including RacingNews365 at the Japanese Grand Prix, the 57-year-old stated that the change was a “happy accident” amid Ricciardo’s poor start to the F1 season.

“It’s certainly not something we want to be hopping the drivers in and out of,” he commented, pointing out the chassis is there to “mount the front suspension on, to mount the engine off and to keep the driver safe” and nothing more, adding: “It’s a survival cell – it’s what it’s known as in the regulations.”

Ricciardo has spoken about his experiences with changing chassis in the past and the affect that can have on performance – a view Permane might not completely agree with.

“The reason I say it’s ever so unlikely is because it really is. It’s not a performance differentiator,” said the British engineer, who affirmed his belief that there is not an issue with Ricciardo’s current chassis.

“It’s a happy accident that we have one coming, and it doesn’t make sense to give it to Yuki [Tsunoda] – it makes sense to give it to Daniel, but we’re not bringing a new chassis because of his issues. Let me be clear about that, it’s just that it all fits together.”

'He would have had a great weekend'

Having struggled to match the performance of team-make Yuki Tsunoda over the first four rounds of the season, the pressure is on Ricciardo.

With the Japanese driver having taken all seven of the team’s points so far this term, helping it to sixth in the constructors’ standings, Ricciardo had fared better in qualifying at Suzuka, narrowly missing out to Tsunoda in the fight to make it into Q3.

Despite a lap one incident forcing the Australian into retirement, Permane believes the team had a “clearer idea of what he wants and needs” in Japan.

Referring back to the race weekend in Melbourne, the RB sporting director insisted that Ricciardo’s qualifying mishap – which saw him eliminated in Q1 for a track limits violation – masked what would have been an otherwise strong weekend.

“I don’t want to make excuses for him, because he got it wrong, but had he not strayed outside the white line in qualifying he would have had a great weekend,” he said.

“He would have been through to Q2 and then who knows, through to Q3? Right with Yuki, believe – he was much closer to Yuki in Q1 than he had been in the previous races.

“When we looked at his race pace, it was very, very good. He certainly had the race pace to beat the Haas’ as well and get points.”

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