Daniel Ricciardo will drive the papaya car of McLaren for the upcoming season. He had his first drive in the 2021 car, MCL35M, at Silverstone on February 16. This was after the team had launched their car the previous day.
The Aussie has signed a multi-year contract with the Woking outfit, which was two years in the making. McLaren were admirers of the driver back in 2018 when he left Red Bull. But, at the time, the team was not in the best shape in terms of management behind the scenes.
McLaren also have a few more changes other than the driver line-up. The most notable one has to be their change from Renault to Mercedes power units.
Daniel Ricciardo enthused by the car’s feel
Ricciardo, in an interview, was glad he could remove the rust after his first drive at Silverstone. He said, “Slowly shaken out some cobwebs, first few laps done. It’s probably the worst conditions because it’s greasy, I’m a little cautious on day one, but its all good.”
He has acknowledged in an interview during the launch that he sees his partnership with Lando Norris thriving. He said, “I think we both have a similar approach to the game. We both love what we do, we enjoy our job and we’re not afraid to show that.”
“We have the same approach but also we are from a bit of a different generation. I think I’m 10 years on Lando, so yeah I think it creates quite a good combination.”
The 31-year-old thinks their off-track chemistry will be on point. He said, “Off-track for sure we’ll always be seen to be having a good time, but I do believe the competition on-track will be good, will be fierce, and more importantly I think driving the team forward.
“That’s something we want to state among ourselves – do the best among the team, then go for it when the lights go out.”
McLaren’s goals for the 2021 season
The historic team has undergone a renaissance of sorts in the past two seasons. The fruit of their off-track progress was borne when they finished third in the Constructors’ standings.
They are looking to progress further when they used their development tokens in acquiring the Mercedes engine from 2021 onwards. This move from a Renault power unit to a Mercedes one could prove to be risky.
They will need to be attuned to the vagaries within the Mercedes engine. Moroever, they will also need to change their cooling mechanism with the Mercedes power units in place. During the car launch, fans could see that the 2021 cockpit had a different back portion than its predecessor.