Stallard's Insight The Ricciardo-McLaren Rift

Stallard’s Insight: The Ricciardo-McLaren Rift


Tom Stallard opens up about Daniel Ricciardo’s challenging tenure at McLaren F1, highlighting the hurdles from the start.

Tom Stallard, the former track engineer for Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren F1, has shed light on why the Australian driver never fully settled into the team. The Brit believes a mutual lack of understanding from the outset likely influenced their entire collaboration.

“Daniel joined the team during the second Covid lockdown,” Stallard recalled to BBC Sport. “It posed a real challenge, as he was based in Los Angeles, and we had to get to know each other through video calls.”

“We could cover the technical aspects, but we missed out on a significant portion of social interaction. Ideally, you’re familiar enough with the driver that non-verbal communication can be established between you.”

“A struggling driver is a delicate situation in a sport where there’s virtually no practice. You go out, lick your wounds, try to figure out what happened and what you need to do differently, then come back with a new plan and try again.”

Despite the frustrating end to their professional relationship, Stallard feels they approached everything the right way with Ricciardo: “When the team decided to bring Oscar in place of Daniel, it took me a while to realize it because I was so involved in the process of working and improving with him.”

“It was disappointing that it ended before we could solve the puzzle. I never lost hope. I never felt it wasn’t going to work out. It might sound strange, but I’m very proud of the work we did with Daniel. We all put a lot of effort into this project, including him.”

“We remain great friends today; I see him at every circuit. It would be easy to imagine the opposite. This is partly a reflection of his character, and I like to think it also reflects the strong collaboration between us.”

Stallard’s Insight: The Ricciardo-McLaren Rift. Stallard’s Insight: The Ricciardo-McLaren Rift


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