That is the opinion of British F1 journalist Mark Hughes, who expressed his views in his latest column for The Race in which he assessed whether Ricciardo might continue to underperform once the new regulations are introduced next year.
Ricciardo joined McLaren from Renault this year, and he has struggled to get to grips with his new car.
“I knew straight away it was a different beast,” the Aussie said in an interview with The Race.
“I’d be lying if I said the Renault wasn’t a different beast to the Red Bull, so they are all different. But there’s certainly some things where this car is slightly more peculiar. That’s the puzzle that I’m still trying to solve.
“But every car will respond and react differently, and this one’s got a couple of other things, I guess,” he added.
Andrea Stella, McLaren’s executive director of racing, has admitted that their car requires “special adaptation” and said they are working with Ricciardo to help him extract more performance from their 2021 challenger.
In his column, Hughes suggested that Ricciardo could walk away from McLaren next year if he continues to be comprehensively outpaced by Lando Norris.
“Both sides desperately want this to work and their working relationship is terrific, the team full of admiration for how his demeanour with his crew never wavers in its positivity despite his difficulties,” he wrote.
“But if there is still no progress in the remainder of this year, he has to be looking at the radical regulation reset of next year as his salvation.
“With everyone’s car by definition unrelated to those of the previous seasons, will the ’22 McLaren prove less unusual in its traits and allow him to express himself in the cockpit more naturally?
“Because if not, and the hangover of this car remains, it’s difficult to conceive someone of Ricciardo’s competitive intensity tolerating sub-standard performance from himself.”
“In such a situation McLaren probably wouldn’t even need to have the awkward conversation. He might well relieve them of it.
“For the sake of Ricciardo, McLaren and F1 let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. Everyone wants to see the real Ricciardo back.”