Tag Archives: Ricciardo

Christian Horner: “In Austin we should be in better shape…”

Christian Horner admits that he was surprised that Daniel Ricciardo was able to show so strongly in Sochi before the Aussie was sidelined by a late mechanical issue.

Like Sergio Perez Ricciardo pitted early under the Grosjean safety car, and thereafter tried to hold position while running a long second stint. Meanwhile his team mate Dany Kvyat took fifth place after starting 11th.

“It was a shame because Daniel had done such a good job on the hard tyre,” Horner told this writer. “The risk with the strategy worked well, and he was doing a great job to keep the faster cars of Bottas and Raikkonen behind. With five laps to go it looks like hr had a suspected rear hub issue. A great shame. I think we need to investigate fully to understand it.

“To be honest to be fighting for a podium today, after the safety car, we didn’t expect that. And for Daniil to pick up a fifth place in his home race is a respectable performance.”

Although most upcoming tracks feature long straights Horner is confident that RBR can still chase some big points.

“Absolutely. Hopefully in Austin we should be in better shape. There are some faster corners than there are here in Sochi. We knew this track was going to be tough for us. Mexico is a little unknown, although it looks like it’s got a very long straight. Brazil will be tough, and Abu Dhabi we’ve always been OK.

Regarding possible engine change penalties he added: “We’re tight but OK at the moment.”

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Illegal Red Bull wings were a “silly mistake” says Marko

Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko insists that the illegal front wing flaps on the RB10s in Abu Dhabi were the result of a “naïve” interpretation of the rules.

Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel qualified fifth and sixth but ultimately started from the pitlane after the FIA discovered a spring arrangement that allowed the flaps to flex.

“It was a silly mistake from our side,” Marko told this writer. “I would say it was a naïve interpretation of the regulations. We thought it was within the regulations.”

Meanwhile Marko said he was happy with the progress the team made in 2014 after its disastrous start in testing.

“We did much better than we expected – we won three races, second in the constructors’ championship, in the drivers’ third and fifth. So the recovery was good. Strategically, everything was done right. We achieved the maximum, we learned a lot, and we had to fight and keep motivation up. But it paid off.

“We had such a difference in horsepower, we couldn’t use the potential of our chassis, because if we put the wing up we lost so much on the straights. So we always had to go for a compromise. I think we did pretty well. Whenever there was a chance, bang, we were there.”

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Horner: Ricciardo might have retired without radio help

Christian Horner admits that Daniel Ricciardo might not have finished the Singapore GP had the full radio ban gone into effect for the race.

The Australian had a battery issue, and was told to avoid contact with kerbs – something that is still subject to the ban. However as the discussion related to a specific car problem, the FIA allowed RBR to pass on the message.

“He had a problem on the run down to Turn One after the start,” said Horner. “And then the [next] problem started relatively early, probably before half distance, where we had basically an issue with the battery not discharging. Quite a lot of management needed to go on with that to try and help him out, it was quite an intermittent problem for him.

“Some laps [the loss was] more than others, some laps would be three or four tenths, some laps would be nothing.”

Horner said that RBR checked with the FIA: “We spoke to Charlie [Whiting], we told him we had some reliability issues, and that’s why [Daniel] was told to keep off the kerbs, because that was causing damage to the battery. Which I think is sensible, it’s finding that balance with this radio stuff at the end of the day.

“From a reliability point of view it would have been a problem.”

Horner says that it’s right to allows some messages, but clamp down on others.

“These cars are so bloody complicated, there’s an awfully large amount going on. I totally support getting rid of driver coaching through the radio, that’s not the engineer’s job, to tell them to brake 10m later or turn-in earlier. But managing the actual power unit, they’re so complicated that just from a reliability and safety point of view, that’s quite important.

“I think for the show it’s good, at least we can tell him his brakes are getting hot and pull out of the slipstream, and everyone knows what’s going on.”

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No team orders at Red Bull to help Ricciardo, says Horner

Christian Horner says there is no consideration of team orders at Red Bull, despite the ongoing Mercedes reliability problems keeping Daniel Ricciardo within striking distance of the main title contenders.

In Singapore Ricciardo finished right behind team mate Sebastian Vettel, and he would have gained three points had they been swapped. Given that the German still has a mathematical chance – albeit a remote one – the team let them race.

“They’ve both mathematically got a chance, but it’s a long shot,” said Horner. “It’s down to them racing each other on the track. It would be wrong to interfere with that in the situation we’re in, so we let them race, as you saw. Dan knew before the race, not just before the race, but some time ago, so he’s totally comfortable and happy with that.

“If there was a realistic chance of Daniel winning, and Sebastian was mathematically out of the championship, then of course we’ll do the best that we can for the team. The situation that we’re in at the moment, it’s a long shot. They’ve got an enormous advantage at this point. We’ll take it one race at a time.

“Both of them are still just in this championship, and both of them have taken a chunk of points out of Nico. Okay, Daniel’s conceded three points to Seb, but is that going to make a difference? It’s impossible to say at this stage, but at the moment it doesn’t make sense to interfere with team orders.”

Singapore was only the second time, after Germany, that Vettel has finished ahead of Ricciardo. Horner agreed that it was a boost for the World Champion.

“I think it’s great for Seb to have had a solid weekend,” he said when asked by this writer. “It’s good for him to be back on the podium. He’s been quick all weekend, he’s had good tyre degradation, so a lot of positives out of the weekend.”

Regarding the prospect of catching Mercedes he said: “On this type of circuit we can get close to them, but the reality is the horsepower difference that we have is still a big factor. So whilst we’ve closed the gap here, some of the other tracks coming up, Abu Dhabi and maybe Sochi, it’s going to extend again. So the key for us is the work we do over the winter, and how we come out of the starting blocks next year in terms of really closing that gap.”

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Daniel Ricciardo: “The race came to life at the end…”

Daniel Ricciardo scored a hugely popular maiden GP victory in Canada, and while it took a little bad luck for Mercedes to make it happen, the Aussie had to be there to take advantage.

Crucially he got ahead of team mate Sebastian Vettel at the final stops, and then passed Sergio Perez with five laps to go. Two laps after that he was able to blast past the Mercedes of a struggling Nico Rosberg to claim the lead.

“It’s not that we were leading the whole race,” said Ricciardo. “So it’s not that I had time to understand that I was going to win, it all happened in the last few laps, so I think that’s why it’s still taking a while to comprehend in my head. But really nice, a really good feeling. The race came to life at the end. Mercedes had their issues and it enable us to close on them. We had a good fight with Perez and we were really struggling to pass them.

“They had, as we know, a really strong car down the straight and it was doing a good job through the corners as well to keep me behind. But then out of the last chicane I got a really good run on him and made the move stick in turns one and two. I was close to overshooting it, dropped a couple of wheels in the grass but it was fine and then Nico in the closing stages. Really, really nice. I wasn’t sure if the two drivers on the last lap were OK, so I just wanted to make sure they were cool before we got celebrating, but I believe they’re fine so really, really happy with the result.”

Ricciardo said he’d worked hard to find a way past Perez.

“To be honest I was trying the whole time I was behind him. I was looking for opportunities and, as I said, he was driving well and wasn’t making any mistakes and realistically I needed a bit of a mistake from him because they were just getting off the corner so well. But then I think, yeah, he got quite close to Nico and perhaps just overshot the braking a little bit in the last chicane. I managed to just stay with him on the exit, get the tow and use the DRS.

“I knew we were strong braking into Turn One, we were really quick into there so, yeah, once I had the outside line free I just basically went in and made it work. Yeah, that was the place I wanted to do it – but as I said, I was trying all the time and it was just then that the opportunity came – but I wasn’t really holding back!”

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Ricciardo has surprised us, says Helmut Marko

Red Bull motor sport boss Dr Helmut Marko admits that he’s been surprised by the impressive form of Daniel Ricciardo thus far in 2014.

Marko says he hadn’t expected the Australia to adapt so well to life at RBR.

“We’re really happy and satisfied with what he’s delivering,” Marko told this writer. “He has to learn a few things – mainly the pit stops he’s always losing out, he’s coming in either too slow, or braking twice. But I’m sure that will be solved.

“To be honest he’s surprising us. We knew he was quick, but being quick and using less tyres [than Vettel], and always being there, it doesn’t matter what pressure.

“And he’s unlucky. In Bahrain one more lap he would have been on the podium, in China two more laps he would have been on the podium. But he’s always in a good mood and smiling.”

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Daniel Ricciardo: “I’ll get my revenge and get some points…”

Daniel Ricciardo’s season with Red Bull could hardly have got off to a more unfortunate start, with his exclusion from the Australian GP followed by the pit drama in Malaysia – which has in turn triggered a 10-place penalty that will ruin his Bahrain weekend.

Nevertheless the Aussie has done an awesome job in the cockpit and convinced any sceptics that Red Bull has chosen a worthy replacement for Mark Webber.

“I definitely feel disappointed,” he said of his curtailed race. “It was looking like we could have a solid points finish, and the race was going pretty well. The start was really good and I made up a couple of positions. I was starting to mix it up at the front, which was nice, it’s fun being up there and fighting for the top few spots. But then at the last pit stop we had an issue, and we had a puncture, a front wing failure. A few other things went on, and then the stop and go. So it went pretty quickly for us from looking good to looking pretty bad in a short matter of time.”

In typical style he’s seeing the positives: “Deep down I’m really disappointed, but at the same time there’s a little bit in me which is happy, because in the first two races I’ve come out how I’ve wanted to. Obviously I still want to improve, but we started off on the right foot. So for that I’m pleased, and I know a little bit of luck will turn around soon, and I’ll get my revenge and get some points.”

In Malaysia he showed that he wasn’t afraid to mix it with the likes of Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso, which bodes well for the future.

“A lot of people probably don’t expect it because I’m always the happy guy and smiling, they think I’m too nice for that, but I’m here to race and I love racing up the front. It’s been a privilege but a lot of fun for the last couple of rounds to do it. It’s a bit addicting, I want more, so you’ll see me up there plenty of times this year.”

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