Can RB’s Switch Save Ricciardo’s Season?

Daniel Ricciardo is optimistic about the upcoming Chinese Grand Prix, where he expects a change to his RB car to bolster his performance against his teammate, Yuki Tsunoda, who has been outshining him this season.

Scheduled for the Shanghai International Circuit, Ricciardo is set to receive a new RB chassis in the next round of the F1 season. With this alteration, the team aims to provide Ricciardo with better support in his battle with Yuki Tsunoda for sixth place in the constructors’ championship.

This season, Yuki Tsunoda, the Japanese sensation, has been the sole scorer for RB, securing all seven points for the team and consistently outperforming Ricciardo.

At Suzuka, Tsunoda added to his tally with another point, while Ricciardo’s race ended prematurely on lap one due to a collision with Alex Albon of Williams.

Despite showing promise in qualifying at the Japanese Grand Prix, Ricciardo’s struggles persist. As a result, the team has decided to equip him with a new chassis for the upcoming race in China, aiming to address his lackluster form.

Reflecting on this development, the 34-year-old Australian driver expressed his curiosity about the change and its potential impact on dispelling concerns about his current chassis.

“I’m still curious, for sure,” Ricciardo remarked to the media when questioned about whether the new chassis would alleviate any existing issues. Because at least [it will give me] peace of mind. I’ll be like ‘alright’.”

This season has witnessed a notable shift in Daniel Ricciardo’s aspirations, transitioning from aiming to challenge Sergio Perez for the second Red Bull seat to now facing uncertainty about retaining his drive at RB, emerging as a prominent topic of discussion in the Formula 1 community.

Adding to the pressure, Liam Lawson is poised as a potential replacement, with speculations arising about a mid-season switch if Ricciardo fails to show improvement.

With this predicament looming over him, Ricciardo finds solace in his past experiences, drawing parallels to similar challenges he has encountered in his career.

Reflecting on his journey, Ricciardo recalled, “Just through past experience – like when I won at Monza [in 2021], they [McLaren] wanted to retire that chassis, so I had a different one for Russia. And I was nowhere in Russia, I remember.

“After that, I said, ‘Guys, I don’t want this chassis, give me the other one back’. Then maybe the next race was Austin, and we were back on it again.

“So yeah, there have been some times when I have been certainly skeptical about some chassis for whatever reason not performing well. So yeah, just want to make sure.”