While the new regulations have left F1 teams scrambling to be creative to save as much weight as they can with their 2022 challengers so they can be more competitive on track, McLaren opted for an unconventional method during the Miami Grand Prix with Daniel Ricciardo. In an attempt to extract as much race pace as they could from the MCL36, the team decided to reduce the amount of fluid allocated in Ricciardo’s drink system.
The McLaren driver experienced a difficult inaugural race in Miami that went beyond car performance. After the race, the Aussie driver spoke to the media including MotorLAT, and revealed that in addition to struggling with race pace, he also experienced dehydration from not having enough fluids in his drink system.
The Miami weather played a huge factor for all the teams during the race and Ricciardo compared the warm Flordia conditions to that of Singapore and Malaysia.
"Yeah, it's got that heat factor to it," Ricciardo said when asked about it.
"It's tough as well, because I mean, everyone's obviously fighting for that last bit of weight.
"So we don't have the luxury of putting three litres in the drink system. So we have a little bit, and it's never enough fluid. So naturally, you're gonna get dehydrated. And yeah, this heat was was pretty real.
"They're the tough ones, obviously. I mean, everyone obviously worked hard today, it is hot, drivers, mechanics, everyone's feeling the heat."
Ricciardo later admitted that he was confused as to his exact race result when he crossed the finish line. The Australian driver received a penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage which moved him down to 13th.
"Actually when I crossed the line, I honestly thought I was 10th," he said. "It's hard to know, obviously [there are] battles and cars going off here and there. But I was kind of doing a calculation in my head thinking that enough cars had kind of gone off, or I passed, to be somewhere inside the points.
Both McLaren drivers faced a challenging race weekend on the Miami International Autodrome circuit. While Lando Norris qualified eighth, Ricciardo started from 14th.
"But yeah, we came up short. So I don't think there were any 'what could have beens' today? We were just not quick enough. We were just hanging on. And I think when everyone's in a tow, we're still lacking a bit on the straights. I think obviously a little bit of a drag and stuff,” he said.
"I was certainly more excited for the safety car," he said. "There were some cars in front on old hards. And for me, I couldn't really get the hard going. It didn't feel like a great tyre for me.
"So I was thinking we were going to have something to show. I was kind of hanging with them, but not really enough to make an impression. In the end, probably just not quick enough."
"I just saw on the classification that I was 13th instead of 11th, still no points. I remember being side-by-side a few times with Haases, and actually felt like we were having some good battles.
"Unfortunately, it's not for a top five or anything. I'm not sure why I'm showing as 13th. But I'll look into it. But of course the big picture is it doesn't change my race."
Looking ahead to the next race in Barcelona, Ricciardo admits that he is unsure about how well the team can do in Spain. However, the 32-year-old remained hopeful since he secured a solid sixth-place finish on the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya previously in 2021.
"It's still hard to say. But I really hope it's better than this weekend, we were certainly a bit more on the back foot.
"And it felt a little bit more like a last year kind of struggle. Some of those races, like Zandvoort, this circuit has some similarities, kind of long corners, and fighting for one point last year.
"And this kind of felt like a similar race, where we were kind of there, but never really enough to make make a big impression. So could be better. [Barcelona] was a better circuit for me last year, so hopefully that means something."