Daniel Ricciardo has dismissed suggestions McLaren is treating him as its No. 2 driver after the team revealed he would not get the same engine upgrade as Lando Norris at the Singapore Grand Prix.
This weekend Norris will be the sole recipient of McLaren’s upgrade package, which includes a new floor and sidepods.
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But Ricciardo won’t get the upgrades until the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka the following weekend.
The Australian was relatively unphased by the snub, suggesting the upgrades were designed with on eye to the 2023 season.
“Lando has got it,” he said ahead of the first Singapore Grand Prix since 2019.
“Just with time and whatever, resources – ultimately it’s both – we’ll both have it in Japan, but this weekend it’s just him.
“And I guess the next question is ‘Why him?’. A lot of its development, as well, in direction of 2023, so it’s pretty much that.
Ricciardo recently revealed McLaren has restricted his access to its plans for the 2023 car.
“Obviously he’s here next year, I’m not, so for him to get another weekend to give the team feedback and obviously direction for next year, that’s ultimately the reason,” Ricciardo added.
“This weekend he gets the update but as far as I know, like Japan I’ll have exactly the same as him.
“I think this is it now, this will be our last update.
“So I would say, as of Japan, we’ll have the same. I foresee us having the same stuff till the end of the year.
“Again, if there is maybe one part with a view of ’23, I’ll probably assume he gets it, but I think this weekend is probably the only one where there’ll be that difference.
“Normally you want it, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not always as simple as ‘OK, we’re going to bolt it on and you’re going to go five-tenths quicker.’
“I kind of hope it’s quicker because that means Japan looks good.”
Last week Norris hit back at claims McLaren’s car has been engineered to suit his driving style more than Ricciardo’s.
“There have been things said that he doesn’t suit the car, and everyone thinks that I do suit the car and the car is made around me and all of that stuff, but it couldn’t be more untrue,” the Brit told the Beyond The Grid podcast.
“Not that I hate driving the car I am driving now, but it’s very unsuited to my driving style.
“I would say at the beginning of the year it suited Daniel a lot more than it suited me in terms of how you had to drive it.
That’s something I really struggled with at the beginning of the season and I’m coping with or (have) adapted to it a lot more now — I would say (I’ve become) more well suited to it.”
“But it is far from a car that I would want in an ideal world. If I wanted to go and do the best lap possible and (you) give me that car to go and do so, it is definitely not the car that I have now.”
“We do drive in different ways, and therefore what we request from the car is quite different,” he said.
“But by no means is it anywhere near more adapted to me than to him.
“I’ve had to adapt a lot more to the car. There’s not a lot that the team can do for me in terms of car. They just make it as quick as possible all round. It’s not like, ‘Lando said this and we’re just going to do that, and Daniel, we’re not going to do that’. That’s just stupid to ever think.”
Ricciardo’s future in F1 is up in the air after he was unceremoniously dumped by McLaren and replaced by compatriot Oscar Piastri.
The are now just three vacants seats at Alpine, Haas and Williams — but it appears increasingly Ricciardo will take the huge gamble of sitting out next year’s season in the hope of returning to the grid in 2024 at a competitive team.
The F1 season resumes this weekend at the Singapore Grand Prix, with lights out scheduled for 11pm AEST on Sunday.