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Riccardo sees McLaren as 2022 championship contenders

Riccardo sees McLaren as 2022 championship contenders

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Riccardo sees McLaren as 2022 championship contenders

Riccardo sees McLaren as 2022 championship contenders
Ian Parkes & Ewan Gale

Daniel Ricciardo has suggested McLaren is in a strong position to challenge for victories and a potential title when Formula 1's new regulations are introduced next season.

The Australian has joined the Woking-based team for the forthcoming campaign after spending two years at Renault - now Alpine - after leaving Red Bull.

With 2022 a new era for the sport given the wide-sweeping regulations to come into force and with attention being turned to the development of the cars early this year as teams attempt to claw back lost downforce following rules tweaks, Ricciardo believes he has seen enough from his short time at McLaren to be excited for the future.

“We don’t have a crystal ball," said Ricciardo. "So, leaving Red Bull or leaving Renault, it’s obviously what I felt was right. Do I know 100 per cent how it is going to turn out? I don’t.

“But I certainly feel that McLaren has done the right things, particularly in the last few years, to set themselves up for these rule changes coming in ’22 in particular.

“I think the next era of F1 has the ability to certainly turn the field around a little bit.

"Everything I have seen and everything I have known up until now, I would say excites me about where McLaren is heading. It’s really that more than anything."

Ricciardo's switch affords him the opportunity to work with the McLaren operational hierarchy, consisting of technical director James Key and team principal Andreas Seidl, as well as CEO Zak Brown.

Whilst his admiration for Seidl and former Toro Rosso colleague Key has excited Ricciardo, the seven-time race winner has pointed to the increased investment announced at the end of last season as a potential driving force for a challenge next season.

“I really do believe in the personnel," added Ricciardo. "I like Zak, [and] Andreas I think is a massive asset for the team.

“Zak is probably going to hit me and say now 'I’ve got to pay him more', but I think Andreas is really helping to steer this ship in the right direction.

“James, as well. I got to work with James in 2013 at Toro Rosso and that was fairly shortlived because I think by that summer I was already going to Red Bull so I’m looking forward to getting to see and work with him again.

“They got more backing as well at the end of last year, they’re expanding. They’re doing what it takes to now be a real contender in the championship - so let’s do it!”

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