Formula One’s Mr. nice guy has been demonstrating his steely nature over the past few weeks. TJ13 reported recently that Lando Norris revealed he had “no sympathy” for his team mate Daniel Riccardo following his sacking by McLaren F1.Norris is set to be joined by young Austrian Alpine academy driver Oscar Piastri in 2023. Given the difficult nature of the McLaren F1 car it will be a challenge for Oscar going up against Norris who has been with the team for 4 years.
The British driver believes the 24 points gap between McLaren and rivals for ‘best of the rest’ in 2022 in fact flatters his team. Norris believes Alpine have failed to take advantage of their superior car.
“Alpine has been ahead of us pretty much since day one of the season,” Norris mused.
“There are maybe three or four races where we might just have been a little bit quicker than them, otherwise quite easily the majority they’ve been a better car.
“For them to only just be ahead of us in the championship is more [about] we’ve done a very good job and they’ve done a pretty bad job.
“They have a better car, they have just done a worse job, made more mistakes, had more problems.”
At the drivers’ press conference Lando revealed McLaren have no big improvements on the car for this weekends Italian GP.
What a difference a year makes.
12 months ago McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo led the race from start to finish and Norris came home delivering a 1-2 for the team ahead of LeClerc’s Ferrari in P3.
Norris reveals McLaren has no big improvements in the bag.
This season Lando has outperformed the car and delivered consistent results which have helped keep the McLaren/Alpine battle alive. Norris has 82 of the teams points while the exiting Ricciardo has just 19.
Norris doesn’t believe McLaren will bring many more upgrades to their car this year and believes the gap to Alpine will grow over the remaining 7 races of the 2022 Formula One season.
“There are always little things and iterations that we have, whether it’s this weekend or next weekend, [but] nothing which is going to just jump us up,” lamented Lando.
“I think now [Alpine] is just ironing out a few more of their problems and issues and maybe also improving the car a little bit more than we have and [they have] taken a few more steps.”
Following the McLaren cloak of secrecy over Ricciardo’s departure and the signing of Oscar Piastri back on July 4th, Daniel promised reporters he’d be open with them from now on.
“I don’t have anything confirmed and I think when I do, I’ll be the first to tell you,” the 8 times GP winning Aussie declared.
“There’s no reason for me to hold back any information now. There are no secrets, it’s all open and out there.
“I’m sure over time the right thing, whatever that will end up being, will make sense and it’s not just about what’s right for next year, it’s about what’s right for my future. It goes beyond 2023.
“It’s complex but when I know, you will.”
Whilst Alpine appear to be targeting Alpha kauris Pierre Gasley to replace Alonso, if Red Bull refuse to release him until the end of 2023 the French outfit could recruit Riccardo for one year.
Daniel could cost the French team nothing given he has been paid his $12m wages for next year to leave by McLaren.
Rumours have swirled that Ricciardo could become the reserve driver at Mercedes possibly taking over from Hamilton whose contract expires next season. That said, Lewis led reporters to believe this weekend he isn’t going anywhere soon.
When asked about the Mercedes rumour Ricciardo continued, “The truth is that I’m keeping every option open for not only next year but for the future,”
“I still don’t know what next year looks like.
“I do want to be on the grid, I do want to race. I touched on it a few weeks ago that although this has certainly been a challenging time in my career, it hasn’t taken the love of the sport away from me and that desire to still be here and compete.
“Obviously, I’ve had many talks and thoughts of next year and beyond that but I’m still not sure what that looks like.”
Lewis Hamilton complimented Ricciardo saying if he was the Aussies manager he would have a full race seat for 2023. “He’s too good not to be on the grid,” Hamilton said.
"I think he should be racing, I think he's far too talented" 💪
Wholesome stuff between Lewis and Danny Ric ❤️ pic.twitter.com/vE4t3ogcqs
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) September 8, 2022