McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo has reiterated that he has no intention of backing down from the challenge of improving his fortunes at the British side.
The Australian’s form last season left a fair amount to be desired despite his victory in Monza and, while he has shown glimpses this season of the outstanding Honey Badger that has won eight races in his career, he has three points finishes to show for his efforts.
By contrast, team-mate Lando Norris has been in the top 10 nine times in 11 rounds this year, and leads the qualifying battle 9-2 as he continues to assert dominance.
McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown’s comments about his driver in the media led to suspicions that there were fractures at Woking, but these have been put to bed, and everyone is on the same page.
This has not stopped rumours flying around that the 33-year-old is potentially set to lose his seat at the end of next year when his contract expires, and there have even been fears that the team have been shopping for a replacement ahead of next season.
IndyCar driver Colton Herta’s name is the predominant one that has been thrown into the mix, and it culminated in Ricciardo putting out a statement on his socials confirming that he is not going anywhere at the end of 2022.
The Australian now reaffirms that he wants to stay with McLaren, and when he leaves the team will be down to him, not anybody else.
“Putting out a statement was kind of saying that in a way ‘I’m deciding my future’,” he told RaceFans.net.
“Obviously people are like, ‘what’s he doing, what’s going to happen, is he even going to be here, does he want to be here?’ and all that.
“No. I very much want to be here, not only in the sport, but with McLaren.”
Having struggled to find consistent form since his move from Renault last year, Ricciardo is determined to stick at it and prove himself to be the phenomenal racer that McLaren signed.
“It’s a challenge that I don’t want to back down from, ultimately, it was as simple as that,” he explained.
“It’s something I’d say, like, it’s in my control, it’s something that I want to keep pursuing.”
The former Red Bull driver confirmed that he is constantly having conversations with the team, and that they are always transparent with one another.
“Unless you have these conversations, not everyone will always know how you’re feeling,” added Ricciardo.
“Of course, I’m a driver obviously that believes I can be winning and if I’m not people are probably wondering, okay, where is his head at? What’s he thinking?
“So they’re conversations that you just feel like you need to have to, in a way, just remind the team, remind people that obviously also are working their butts off for me, that I’m all-in on this and I still want this and I still believe I can do it.
“You have the regular conversations just to avoid or remove any doubt.
“I think also for people at the factory who don’t come to the track, they might just read some headlines and that so then they might be like, ‘what’s Daniel going to do?’
“So I think for them to hear from me as well, I think that’s important, just stating my intentions and making sure they hear it from the horse’s mouth.”
The highs and lows are extremely contrasting in Formula 1 as Ricciardo knows all too well, but it is during the low points that he feels fired up to push for better days ahead.
“I still love it, on the days that I, in a way, hate it, I love it just as much,” he explained.
“The struggles also motivate me to get back to the front, to find a way, so I think simply I just still love it more than anything.”
Ricciardo is 12th in the Drivers’ Standings after scoring points in two of the last four races, but he remains five positions and now 47 points behind Norris.