McLaren is now midfield benchmark in F1 - Daniel Ricciardo

McLaren and Renault in action at the Austrian Grand Prix

McLaren has now established itself as the benchmark team in Formula 1’s midfield, according to Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo.

Haas, Alfa Romeo and Renault have all enjoyed spells in fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship, but McLaren moved into the position after Azerbaijan and have remained there since.

McLaren introduced an upgrade package in Spain and further understanding of its new components facilitated its status as ‘best of the rest’ at the most recent events in France and Austria.

It has now built a 20-point lead over Renault in the battle for fourth.

“Looking at the McLarens they certainly are the benchmark now and they have really come on, and they are the ones with that kind of package that we are looking for, said Ricciardo.

“It seems that they are able to run more downforce and more efficiently, so they can run higher downforce yet lose less in the straights.

“Our package when we do run more, we don’t seem to be able to use it well. That is something.

“Whether that goes back to correlation in the wind tunnel, all these things, all that is going to be addressed and we will try to figure it out. Absolutely something is not adding up.

“The team has invested a lot and the value for money is not coming yet. So where that lies, I don’t know, but we will see.”

Ricciardo has only picked up points at three of the nine grands prix held since he moved across to Renault.

“I don’t want to be running around 12th,” he said. “It is definitely not where I feel I belong. That was definitely the tougher part [in Austria].

“We have had a good run so I don’t want to let [Austria] dictate the whole start of the season. We had some momentum so I want to find it for Silverstone.”