Daniel Ricciardo suggested that McLaren may take time to recover its Formula 1 prospects but maintained an upbeat aura over its situation.
Ricciardo and McLaren had a low-key showing in Bahrain as he was eliminated in Q1, qualifying 18th, faster only than Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll and Williams’ Nicholas Latifi.
Ricciardo dropped to the back of the field at the start and remained among the tail-end group throughout, ultimately classifying 14th of the 17 finishers.
“Obviously starting from pretty much the back we knew it wouldn’t be an easy race, we had some challenges,” said Ricciardo.
“Look, I’m glad we got the race distance in, especially for me, the first one I’ve done all year.
“[It was good] to learn the car more, [give] feedback to the team, some interesting things to feel, and some places where I felt the car was good, but overall obviously we still have I think a few more weaknesses than strengths, so [we will] try and give that info to the team and assist them as much as possible now.
“We’d love to be up on the podium here at race one but we’re obviously a long way from that, but the only way to improve it is work together and address as much as we can in the most efficient way possible.”
Ricciardo emphasised he “refuses to be down yet, it’s too early” but cautioned that McLaren is unlucky to surge forward in the interim period.
“I don’t think it’s going to be an overnight fix, for sure it’s going to take a little bit of time I guess, but we’re still so early in the development of these cars and understanding, so maybe in a couple of races time we find a set-up that works well with the car,” he said.
“There’s still optimism that it might be quicker than we think but knowing Formula 1 I think it’ll take some work to find the lap time we need.”
McLaren will never be a winning team again unless they find new leadership. Zak Brown is an adult toddler with money, using real life cars as his Hot Wheels. Other than endurance racing (which is actually relevant to their car brand), they have no business racing outside of F1 in IndyCar or Extreme E until they get the F1 program sorted out. People like to point out McLaren never won during the final few years with Ron Dennis, but they also forget they were locked in a contract with Honda who gave them the worst motors in F1 history and Honda refused help from McLaren/Ricardo motors or anyone else non-Japanese (and it was Red Bull in 2017 who forced them during negotiations to have Ilmor redesign it which the media quietly hushed), and F1 rules did not allow for A) testing or B) the ability to actually change enough PU components during a season to solve problems (token system). People also forget during that time, despite having lawn mower engines, the cars itself were still good and Alonso and Button were still regularly competing around the top 5, and sometimes they even finished there on the rare occasion the Honda PU would last an entire race. The most telling part of Brown’s incompetency is the amount of talent and long-standing McLaren sponsors who fled when he took over, and how after six years of being in charge, they have shown almost no improvement. With the fluke win and a few circumstantial podiums removed from the equation, their results are no better (and are sometimes worse) than when Dennis was in charge with Honda PUs in the car. Now that Mansour Ojjeh is gone (who was the one who had an issue with Dennis and colluded against him to get the other board members to kick him out), I just wonder how long the remaining members of the board will continue to tolerate all of this.