Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Ricciardo urges caution over RB F1 team expectations

Daniel Ricciardo says RB Formula 1 team has to be cautious despite a promising start to testing with the new VCARB 01 car in Bahrain.

Daniel Ricciardo, VCARB 01, in the garage

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

The Australian ended Thursday's track running fifth overall, 1.4s down on Ferrari pacesetter Carlos Sainz after both had used the C4 soft tyre.

It followed Ricciardo setting the fourth-fastest time on Wednesday, 1.2s off pacesetter Max Verstappen in the Red Bull RB20, but on a par with the McLaren of Lando Norris and Sainz.

The team formerly called AlphaTauri has undergone a revamp over the winter, with Laurent Mekies coming in as team principal and Enstone veteran Alan Permane joining as racing director.

Despite the promising start, Ricciardo has urged not to read too much into the times.

Speaking on Wednesday, he said: “Start of the season, we need to be a little bit cautious.

“The target as the season goes on is the front of the midfield. But I would say now where we are, it's probably more in the midfield.

“I'm not sure yet at the front. But that is certainly our target. I know some people are quite excited about us coming into the season, but I want to play it a little bit cautious.

“We have a decent car, but we still have a lot of work to do, and the numbers we brought for the test, we believe there's still some things to find.”

Daniel Ricciardo, RB F1 Team VCARB 01

Daniel Ricciardo, RB F1 Team VCARB 01

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

When asked following Thursday's running whether or not he was happy with the team's progress, he said: “I'm in between. But this is just how I approach testing.

“Even if you see Sainz first today or something, there's so many questions. Is it fuel? Is it engine? What time of the day? So you just never know.

“I think regardless of where we are on the time sheets, I think I'm just staying somewhere in the middle.

“I'm aware we're not going to be probably a pole position next week. But I like to think we're still in that midfield hunt.

“Obviously for us to start the season, if could find ourself in Q3 and points on a Sunday that's a good start to the year.

“Whether we'll get it or not next week, time will tell.

“But I think that's the start and then as the season goes on, as we learn a bit more about the car and working together with a lot of new personnel, I think that's where we can start to push the bar a little more.”

Ricciardo also says an update package used at the final race of 2023 in Abu Dhabi gave RB some momentum heading into the new season, with its 2024 car feeling like “a continuation”.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing, Daniel Ricciardo, Visa Cash App RB F1 Team

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing, Daniel Ricciardo, Visa Cash App RB F1 Team

Photo by: Motorsport Images

“We came into Abu Dhabi with a pretty substantial update and I think it felt better. We've now just kind of finely tuned it.

“Obviously it is a new car, but I would say from the balance it's just an evolution of that.”

Ricciardo’s team-mate Yuki Tsunoda agreed the package run at last year’s finale had been a useful step towards the new car.

“We put the upgrades in the last race of 2023,” said the Japanese driver. “Many of the teams didn't do it, and also that's how we were pushing in 2023, so there's bit of time to find where we can improve.

“And also we built a new team, we reinforced a complete new team, new people, so it will take time to develop in general, also including performance as well.

“Hopefully it will be better for the year. It looks okay. But it’s testing, so it's hard to say.”

Additional reporting by Matt Kew

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Stella: First sight of Red Bull RB20 F1 car made me go “wow”
Next article F1's unwanted records that could be broken or extended in 2024

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe