Visa CashApp RB denies Daniel Ricciardo powerplay as chassis swap confirmed for Chinese Grand Prix

The Visa Cash App RB team has gone out of its way to make clear its chassis change for the Chinese Grand Prix was not the Australian’s decision.

It was revealed after the Japanese Grand Prix that Ricciardo was going to get his wish to have a new chassis for his VCARB01.

The Australian had made a public call for the team to make the change, but the team has now stated the chassis change was a decision that was made by team engineers and technicians back at the team’s headquarters in Milton Keynes — and had been planned well in advance.

A report emerged on Tuesday the team hopes to give Ricciardo a “mental confidence boost” with a new chassis.

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RB sporting director Alan Permane confirmed before the opening day of practice at the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai that the team will also be bringing forward plans to upgrade the car earlier this year than previously planned.

Permane said the new chassis will not have an impact on the performance of Ricciardo’s car.

“The reason I say it’s ever so unlikely is because it really is. It’s not a performance differentiator,” he said.

“It’s a happy accident that we have one coming, and it doesn’t make sense to give it to Yuki [Tsunoda] – it makes sense to give it to Daniel, but we’re not bringing a new chassis because of his issues. Let me be clear about that, it’s just that it all fits together.”

Despite the public comments, the news of the chassis change will have been music to the veteran driver’s ears.

“That was certainly something I raised the possibility (of),” Ricciardo told Speedcafe.

“If we still are struggling, before we just tell me I’m s**t, please get that sorted.”

After failing to secure any points through the first three races, Ricciardo knew he needed a solid result in Japan to quieten the doubts rising around him.

Instead, his race lasted barely 20 seconds before he collided with Williams driver Alex Albon and slammed into the barriers as both men were knocked out of the race.

Replays showed Ricciardo went to adjust to the racing line after seeing the Aston Martin of Lance Stroll on his inside, but didn’t see the Williams of Albon had snuck up on his outside.

Meanwhile, Former F1 team boss Giancarlo Minardi has suggested Ricciardo is struggling with “complex” issues.

Tsunoda has dominated Ricciardo in qualifying and in race results with the 34-year-old yet to score a championship point in 2024.

Minardi said he’s unable to explain just what’s going on with Ricciardo.

“After he came back he had that accident after which he was out because of his wrist,” he said, according to PlanetF1.

“He was there though, he fought Tsunoda. But Ricciardo is difficult for me to assign a concrete value.

“As an outsider observing things, the problem seems much bigger than injuries, it’s much more complex.”

The Chinese Grand Prix gets underway with practice sessions on April 19 ahead of the race on April 21 at the Shanghai International Circuit.

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