By : LIANNEWSKGABAR
- February 13, 2021
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McLaren ‘my best chance’ to achieve title goal – Ricciardo
Daniel Ricciardo believes his move to McLaren has put him in “the right place” to achieve his goal of winning the world title in F1.
The Australian driver is on the verge of his eleventh season in F1, having so far conquered 7 Grand Prix wins – exclusively with Red Bull Racing between 2014 and 2018 – and finished twice on the third step of the podium in the championship, also with RBR.
Ricciardo’s two-year stint with Renault did not entirely fulfill his expectations or convince him that a bright future awaited him with the French outfit.
But the Aussie believes his prospects with McLaren beyond this year’s transition season represent his best chance ever to go for gold as a Grand Prix driver.
“I think this is my best chance to achieve what I’ve said all along is the goal,” Ricciardo told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“I didn’t ever want to get to F1 just to get to F1 – I wanted to be world champion, and I still do.
“McLaren, with the way they’re progressing, feels like the best chance for me to be able to do that, maybe the best chance I’ve had.”
McLaren’s performance has been trending higher since Zak Brown initiated an extensive restructuring of the Woking-based outfit over two years ago.
Key hirings such as team boss Andreas Seidl and technical director James Key have significantly contributed to the papaya squad’s turnaround following a dismal multi-year period of underperformance marked by its failed partnership with Honda.
After finishing fourth and ‘best of the rest’ in the Constructors’ standings in 2019 with Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris, McLaren went one better last season when it snatched third in the championship.
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And Ricciardo sees reasons to believe that his new team will uphold its momentum this year, its efforts supported by its new talented driver.
“You never know in this sport, but I’m confident I’m in the right place,” he added.
“Can I sit here and say that I can fight for a world championship next year? Who knows, but I feel confident that I’m in the right place to give myself a good shot at it.
“You can see McLaren’s pathway to getting better, and I feel McLaren is ready for me to be one of the elements they haven’t had to help them win.”
After spending most of the off-season in Los Angeles, his second home, Ricciardo is back in the UK embedded with his team as he enters the think of his preparations for the 2021 season.
“Being in the McLaren factory these past couple of weeks, meeting the mechanics and the engineers, there’s a huge buzz,” he says.
“There’s a feeling of a hungry team that has gone through some tough times, but the resurgence is happening, it’s real, and they know that success could be in the short-term future. I felt that from the first day I walked through the door.
“The feeling that I can help them achieve that success sooner is all the motivation I need.
“Finishing third in the constructors’ championship was big last year, and they have a bit of swag about them, which I really like.
“They want more, they’re ready to make that next leap, and it seems realistic. It’s exciting to be a part of that.”
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