Seidl: We have the best plan to integrate Ricciardo

McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl has admitted that there is “not a lot of time” to integrate Daniel Ricciardo into the team ahead of the 2021 Formula 1 season.

Ricciardo arrives at McLaren as the replacement for the Ferrari-bound Carlos Sainz and will have to adapt to the new way of working in a matter of months ahead of the first race of the year in March.

The Australian is now onto his fifth team in Formula 1, having driven for HRT, Toro Rosso, Red Bull and Renault in the past, but the Woking-based outfit are still taking every possible step to ensure he is ready to perform as soon as possible.

With McLaren benefitting from a consistent driver lineup over the past two seasons as they climbed the constructors’ standings, Seidl said that they had developed a “clear plan” to help Ricciardo acclimatise.

“We have a clear plan in place of how to integrate him in the best possible way,” he said, as reported by The Race. “The main focus is on integration on the technical side, on the racing side.

“But in parallel to that we have as a programme in place to integrate him as a team member on the communication side, the marketing side and the business side. That will start flat out from the beginning of January.

“There’s not a lot of time. It will involve a lot of sessions, both online, but at the same time also with a lot of presence at the MTC. The target is to make sure he feels at home with us as quickly as possible, then looking forward to perform together from the first race onwards.”

Looking ahead to the new year, Seidl admitted that taking on a new driver was a “challenge”, but revealed they wanted to make Ricciardo feel like he had been with the team for a “long time”.

“Having a new driver on board is always a very interesting challenge,” he added.

“It’s a combination of a very methodical approach and competence because I’m sure the engineers will be eager to share with the driver tonnes and tonnes of information and solutions, but you need to do the right things. There won’t be a lot of time to test on track, less than any other time, which increases the challenge.

“The objective is to be like Daniel has driven a McLaren and has worked with his engineers a long time, but it’s actually the first race. From there, just work backwards.”