Massa: We have to see Ricciardo’s smile again
Ancient Formula 1 Driver Felipe Massa has claimed Daniel Ricciardo’s smile is what the under-pressure driver badly needed amid the difficult time he is enduring at McLaren.
Daniel Ricciardo is not having his best days in F1, as he is going through a difficult period at McLaren, unable to perform in the MCL36 team, continuously beaten by teammate Lando Norris.
To make matters worse, the Aussie crashed in practice for the 2022 Monaco Grand Prix, a race he won in 2018 but finished a lowly 13th in 2022.
Ricciardo is also coming under pressure from McLaren CEO Zak Brown, who admits the former did not meet the team’s expectations.
The smile must return
But Felipe Massa, having experienced the pressure himself in his final days with Ferrari, gave the Honey Badger advice and told F1 TV: “I think sometimes we need to see his smile again.
“He has to take advantage of it,” added the Brazilian. “I had a moment at Ferrari where it was tricky. Every moment something is wrong and you can’t concentrate in the right way, maybe you’re not relaxed and happy.
“You have to be happy, you have to enjoy your relationship with the team. He needs to smile again and enjoy [racing]“, insisted the vice-champion of F1 2008.
Brown recently revealed there are mechanisms to part ways early with Ricciardo, whose contract expires at the end of the 2023 season, but Massa believes the struggling driver should put an end to those talks.
“When you’re at Daniel Ricciardo’s level, he’s an incredible driver at an incredible level, you can’t worry about these talks,” he said.
“These talks are small compared to what you can do on the track, so you have to focus on what you are doing on the track.
“Whether he has a contract for next year or not, it doesn’t matter,” said the former Ferrari driver. “You have to put that inside, it’s no problem to worry about [about].
“The problem is different, it is to understand how to be happy and how to enjoy [racing]leave all these things [aside]get back to racing and find happiness again,” the 41-year-old concluded.
Ricciardo can only decide to leave sooner, not McLaren
Ricciardo also struggled in his first year with McLaren, unable to get the better of the team’s 2021 MCL35M with his win at Monza an outlier.
A reset with a new car in 2022 doesn’t seem to have helped as his performance continues to decline, sparking all the talk about his future in the team and in the sport.
However, The race paid off that the decision to have an earlier split between Ricciardo and McLaren is not as much up to the team as it is up to the driver’s decision depending on the nature of the contract.
The publication backed up their claim with what they quoted Brown saying in reference to Ricciardo’s future: “We’ll just see how things develop, what he wants to do.”
But hey, everyone knows that contracts don’t mean anything in F1. Watch this place…