Daniel Ricciardo has had his first experience of driving a McLaren Formula 1 car during a maiden outing in the team’s new MCL35M at a wet Silverstone on Tuesday.

Ricciardo and new teammate Lando Norris are shaking down McLaren’s 2021 F1 car following its launch on Monday evening at the British Grand Prix venue as the Woking squad uses one of its two permitted filming days for the year.

Teams are allowed to complete two promotional days per season that are limited to 100km - the equivalent to 17 laps of the Silverstone grand prix layout - on non-race-spec Pirelli tyres.

McLaren is expected to use up both of its allocated filming days this week to provide Ricciardo and Norris with some valuable track time ahead of the upcoming 2021 F1 season.

The shakedown not only provides Ricciardo with his first chance to get his first experience of driving a McLaren F1 car but also allows the team to get its first real-world look at evaluating the installation of its new Mercedes engine, having switched power unit supply from Renault over the winter.

As the only team changing engines between seasons, McLaren has had to accommodate the Mercedes power unit into its revised MCL35M package that had originally been built specifically to fit Renault’s engine last year.

Mercedes reported last week that it had encountered “some issues” with its new power unit for 2021, but McLaren technical director James Key said the team had no problems during their first tests of the Mercedes engine on the dyno.

“To date, we have done some full-scale testing on a dyno and that’s been completely problem-free,” he said. “But I would say Mercedes are definitely the best to answer that, to be honest. It’s not actually something I know so even if I wanted to I couldn’t, unfortunately.”

With pre-season testing cut back to just three days of running this year, there is extra value in McLaren conducting both of its filming days prior to the new campaign.

The shakedown will be McLaren’s only track time before pre-season testing gets underway in Bahrain between 12-14 March, ahead of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix on 28 March.

 

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