Watch: Team ready to challenge for podium finishes
McLaren are aiming to “close the gap” to Mercedes when the new Formula 1 season begins with new driver Daniel Ricciardo looking to get back on the podium, the team announced at its 2021 presentation this week.
The Australian, 31, who has joined the outfit from Renault, will line up alongside 21-year-old Briton Lando Norris who scored a third-placed finish in last season’s Austrian Grand Prix which helped McLaren to finish third in the constructors’ championship.
“As I see it, most teams have a chance for a podium,” said Ricciardo at the digital launch. “Hopefully my experience and my motivation come out on top in whatever battle I am in. I certainly have ambition to be on the podium.
“McLaren has been on an awesome journey over the last few years, and I’m looking forward to helping the team maintain this positive momentum.”
Norris finished ninth in the 2020 drivers’ championship but his preparations for the new season were hampered in January by a spell of quarantine in Dubai after testing positive for COVID-19.
“I felt drained, tired for a couple of weeks, but I am now fully recovered,” he said. “I am altogether confident I can come into the season knowing what I really want.”
McLaren, entering their 54th season in Formula 1, finished last season well behind Mercedes, the seven-time defending champions for drivers’ and constructors’ championships, but hope that their new engines, supplied by Mercedes, will help them to fight for the titles.