Daniel Ricciardo says he is “excited” about his prospects at McLaren as the team launches its new car and driver line-up for the 2021 season

The Australian has signed a three-year contract with McLaren that will switch from Renault to Mercedes engines in 2021

Ricciardo, who joins Renault after two years, said: “Everything I’ve seen excites me about where McLaren is going

He added, “You are doing everything you can to be a real contender for the championship”

Ricciardo, who won seven races for Red Bull between 2014 and 2018 before choosing Renault, opted for McLaren after just one season at the French automaker before last season’s late start

He said he believed McLaren was his best option for the advent of a major technical rule change that Formula 1 will introduce in 2022

‘We don’t have a crystal ball,’ he said, ‘Leaving Red Bull or Renault is what I think is right Do I know how it will turn out? I don’t But I’m sure McLaren did the right things to specifically prepare for these rule changes in 2022 “

Ricciardo joins the Briton Lando Norris to the team that finished third in the constructors’ championship last season and in the last race of the season a close battle with Racing Point and Renault behind the dominating champion Mercedes and closest rival Red Bull won

“More teams than last year stood on the podium,” said Ricciardo. “The battle for the front got more intense. For the rest of us we’re trying to close Mercedes I see it as most teams that have a chance at one Podium have “

Ricciardo had already had talks about joining McLaren when he left Red Bull before finally choosing Renault

He said he was convinced that with the changes in management since then, McLaren had been on the right track, particularly with the hiring of Andreas Seidl as team principal and James Key as technical director

McLaren ended 2018 with the second slowest car on the grid, but has climbed from sixth to fourth to third in the championship over the past three years as these changes have come into effect

Norris said he had recovered from the coronavirus over the winter and that the illness was “not that bad for him – it was a few days where he had no taste and smell and only became very drained and drained a few times felt tired weeks “

The 21-year-old, whose former team-mate Carlos Sainz joined Ferrari, said he saw the arrival of a seasoned winner alongside him as “positive – he can win and take podiums, do pretty much anything”I can learn more from another driver. It’s good to experience something different”

Norris, who was on the podium in the first race of last season on his way to ninth place in the championship, has not set any specific goals for this year

“I do my best and the people who know that more than anyone else are the people I work with,” said Norris. “They know the effort and time they put in and I’m good at enough and where I’m not good enough

“Last year I was very happy with my work. There were things to improve, but overall it was a much better season than the first year (2019) I’m happy, but I have different things to work on and working with Daniel will also help me become a better driver “

Seidl said it was “a great achievement” to secure third place last year and that there are “many positive results” in the new season

“In terms of the driver line-up we will have one of the strongest in the paddock,” said the German. “We have a title-winning engine in the back of the car. But we shouldn’t forget the fight we were in last year. We have great respect in front of these people “

Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing, said: “The goal is to close the gap forward

“The field is incredibly close. Challenging the championship would be unrealistic given the journey we are on

“We can only hope to fill the void with Mercedes, who we expect to be the fastest team in 2021. The rules haven’t changed much so I don’t think 2021 will be any different than 2020, except expect it to get closer “

The new car, the MCL35M, is an evolution of last year’s car – as will be the case for all teams that impose rules that restrict development in order to save costs as a result of the pandemic

McLaren was constrained by an agreement with the FIA ​​governing body on how far they could develop their mechanical parts as it required a significant number of changes to accommodate the Mercedes engine

However, all teams are free to do as much aerodynamic development as they wish to make rule changes that have resulted in body changes to halt the rapid increase in downforce and cornering speed

The car will run for the first time in a test on Tuesday at Silverstone, with both drivers turning behind the wheel. Mileage is limited to 100 km by law

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World news – GB – Ricciardo ‘enthusiastic’ about McLaren prospects

Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/formula1/56075844