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RB F1 team to give Ricciardo new chassis in China

The RB Formula 1 team will give Daniel Ricciardo a new chassis at the Chinese Grand Prix as part of an effort to reassure the Australian that there’s nothing wrong with his equipment.

Daniel Ricciardo, RB F1 Team VCARB 01

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Ricciardo has struggled to match team-mate Yuki Tsunoda this year and has suggested that something might not be right with his package.

Racing director Alan Permane has stressed that the fresh chassis was being constructed anyway, and hasn’t been built because of any doubts over Ricciardo’s current car.

"For me the chassis is a big lump of carbon that we attach the suspension to, attach an engine to, and a gearbox to,” he said. “It's really ever so unlikely that there are performance issues with the chassis.

“However, we have a new one coming through, it makes sense at all levels to give that to Daniel, not least that Yuki is super happy and super comfortable where he is. We don't have a preference on drivers.

“With Daniel maybe it's good for him to just put that completely to bed, that there any there any issues with the car.”

In the past teams have sometimes discovered that drivers who suspected an issue with a chassis were correct, although Permane believes that won’t be the case with Ricciardo's VCARB 01.

Daniel Ricciardo, Visa Cash App RB F1 Team

Daniel Ricciardo, Visa Cash App RB F1 Team

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

“Sometimes you can measure things, you can put chassis on rigs and check stiffnesses and things like that,” he said. “The reason I say it's ever so unlikely is because it really is not a performance differentiator.

“A survival cell is what it's known as in the regulations, it's there to mount the front suspension off, to mount the engine off, and to keep the driver safe.

“So I don't see it as being a performance differentiator, and it's certainly not something we want to be hopping drivers in and out of. It's a happy accident that we have one coming, and it doesn't make sense to give it to Yuki.

“It makes sense to give it to Daniel, but we're not bringing a new chassis because of his issues, to clear about that. It is just that it all kind of fits together."

Permane conceded that the team has to take a careful approach when tuning the car for Ricciardo’s personal preferences.

“It's not an easy one because you can address those sorts of things with set up,” he said. “But what you don't want to do is make the car slower, and we've been very cautious not to make it [a] more comfortable but slower car.

“In a perfect world, you dial it out, give him his confidence, and then slowly creep back to get the maximum performance.

Daniel Ricciardo, RB F1 Team VCARB 01

Daniel Ricciardo, RB F1 Team VCARB 01

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

“There's no reason that Daniel can't drive the car like it is, in its quickest form. That's clear. I'm pretty sure he understands that and that's what we need to do, is give him the quickest possible car.”

For Suzuka the team has introduced a revised floor, which was run by Tsunoda in FP1 while third driver Ayuma Iwasa used the standard version. That car was then converted to the new floor for Ricciardo’s use in FP2.

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Permane added that the update will bring more performance at venues where slower corners dominate.

“It has strakes at the front, it has a new wing down the side of it, and actually a new little detail round the rear tyre,” he said. “It gives us a nice little step of downforce.

“We're a little bit hesitant to say it's going to be fantastic here at Suzuka, it mainly focusses a little bit on lower speed, and here we have a much more high speed content, so we're intrigued to see how it will go here.

“We would like a little bit more high-speed performance, that's why I say we're a little bit hesitant here. We’ve got upgrades coming in the next couple of races that will target that area.”

Additional reporting by Jonathan Noble

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