RB sceptical about Ricciardo’s chassis switch

Sat, 6 April 2024, 10:00

Apr.6 (GMM) Team racing director Alan Permane is sceptical a change of chassis for Daniel Ricciardo will make any difference for the struggling Australian.

Ricciardo’s hopes of using the junior team RB as a springboard for his return to Red Bull Racing are fading in 2024, as teammate Yuki Tsunoda establishes a clear advantage.

Earlier at Suzuka, Ricciardo admitted that he was pushing for a change of chassis, to eliminate his nagging suspicion that a fundamental technical flaw could explain his latest slump.

RB team boss Laurent Mekies and Permane, the racing director, have granted Ricciardo’s wish.

“I initiated that,” Ricciardo, 34, now confirms, according to Auto Motor und Sport.

“There are always small differences in the chassis. Before anyone tells me I’m crap, I wanted to at least get that sorted out.”

However, Permane says a change of chassis is almost never a miracle cure in Formula 1.

“For me, a chassis is just a pile of carbon to which we attach the suspension, the engine and the gearbox,” he said. “It is unlikely that there will be any problems there that are affecting performance.”

Permane admitted that, normally, he would have turned down a driver’s similar request.

“We don’t really want the drivers to jump back and forth between chassis,” he said. “But we’re working on a new monocoque for Shanghai anyway. So it makes sense to give it to Daniel. Yuki is very happy with what he has.

“It’s good for Daniel,” Permane agrees. “Then he can completely forget about whether there is a problem with the car.”

However, he thinks Ricciardo should be spending all of his energy on perfecting the car’s setup – even though he also thinks even that has its limitations.

“When you make the car more comfortable to drive, you always have to be careful not to make the car slower at the same time,” Permane warned.

“In a perfect world, you first look for a setup that gives a driver confidence and then slowly you move it towards maximum performance. There is no reason why Daniel cannot drive our car in its fastest form.”

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