McLaren Deny Number 1 Status for Daniel Ricciardo: “Not a Part of Contract Negotiations”

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McLaren enters this season with not just a new engine, switching to Mercedes engines for the upcoming 2021 season. They’ve also changed their driver lineup, with Australian Daniel Ricciardo also joining the team. Team principal Andreas Seidl thinks there won’t be a clear number one between Ricciardo and Lando Norris.

The British team has gone from strength to strength since 2019 when Seidl joined the team as the team principal. They finished third in the Constructor’s Standings in 2020 with both their drivers Carlos Sainz and Norris putting inconsistent performances.

They were the first team to officially launch their car on February 15 and their driver duo has already gotten a few runs in the car.

Seidl thinks Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris will be treated equally

Seidl, in an interview, was very happy with the driver’s pairing. He said, “It will be a very strong one. Lando Norris (in the team since 2019), is almost a ‘McLaren veteran’. Ricciardo is a reference that we have been missing in the last two years.” 

“He has proven in the past that he can win races with the right material. The team should step forward with these two.” 

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Renault Sport F1 smiles at the livery launch of the Renault Sport Formula One Team RS20 during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Bryn Lennon – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

He reiterates there won’t be a clear number one driver. He said, “As long as I am team boss, there is no defined number one. It is not necessary and beneficial for the dynamic in the team. This (number one) was not a part of contract negotiations with Ricciardo.”

McLaren’s to improve on 2020?

McLaren have taken an interesting gamble of changing their power unit from Renault to Mercedes engines. They will be the only team to change their power unit for 2021. They have used a significant number of their development tokens to get this over the line. 

From the first look of the car at their car launch, they’ve designed the rear wing and rear part of the car to be tighter/sharper. This will allow them to consider the cooling ability of the Mercedes engines which will be different to how the Renault one cools.

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Renault Sport F1 looks on in the Paddock during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

They’ve also made a big move in driver lineup by going for Daniel Ricciardo. He will add that race-winning experience to the team and maybe take them over the line in first at a few races. They will be looking to close the gap with Mercedes and Red Bull in terms of car performance.

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