Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Yas Marina, 2022

Ricciardo feared racing while not at his best could be “dangerous”

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In the round-up: Daniel Ricciardo said he decided to accept a non-racing role in Formula 1 next year after his enthusiasm for competing dipped during his unsuccessful second season at McLaren.

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In brief

Ricciardo feared not competing at his best

Red Bull confirmed on Wednesday Ricciardo will return to join them as their third driver for the 2023 F1 season. Ricciardo was released from his McLaren contract a year early for performance reasons, and said he felt the need for a break afterwards.

“As the second half of the season went on, I just needed to step away for a bit, rebuild myself, reset a bit, and also just find the intense love for it,” he told Speedcafe. “Because, at this level, if you don’t have that, then I’m not doing justice for myself or anyone around me.

“I’m not saying I’ve lost it, but I’m in fear of losing it.”

Ricciardo added he was concerned of the potential risks of competing if he did not feel able to give his best.

“Yes, [F1 drivers] are really good at what we do, but we’re also still human and we still get tired, exhausted, fatigued. And at this level of sport, that is dangerous – you can’t be operating at 99 percent, even.

“So I really felt I was in fear of not being at my best if I did another year.”

Doohan tops second F2 test day despite clash with Maini

Virtuosi driver Jack Doohan was quickest in the second day of post-season Formula 2 testing at the Yas Marina circuit despite making contact with Kush Maini.

Doohan’s best time of a 1’35.99o in the morning session saw him the day quickest of the 22 drivers, ahead of Jehan Daruvala of MP Motorsport and Ayumu Iwasa of DAMS.

In the evening session, Frederik Vesti set the fastest time but was slower than Doohan’s earlier best. The session had to be stopped temporarily after Doohan and Maini collided but later resumed. The third and final day of the test takes place tomorrow.

Junior kart champion Tarnvanichkul set to join Red Bull

World junior karting champion Enzo Tarnvanichkul has announced he will join the Red Bull junior driver programme next season.

The 13-year-old announced in a post on social media that he will sign as a Red Bull junior next year. Tarnvanichkul won the OK Junior world title in September and said he would “try to deliver on track and develop my career with the very best.”

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Comment of the day

Among many fascinating stats from the 2022 season, @Pimbers4955 points out this remarkable run that ended this season after 30 years…

Most surprising fact I came across, was this is the first season since 1991 that neither Schumacher or Hamilton has won a race. And the first season of racing for Hamilton without a win since 2001

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Matt Aitch, Sozavele and Swapnil Aman!

Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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24 comments on “Ricciardo feared racing while not at his best could be “dangerous””

  1. If by “Wizard of Oz”, he means Bernie is a fraudster who used smoke and mirrors to convince people that he was great and powerful that would be accurate.

    1. He said some distasteful things over the years, but if you believe that’s what Bernie’s career boils down to you’re clueless.

      1. “Some”? The man is a walking repudiation of civility and decency. His business history is replete with fraud, scandal, and mismanagement. His nouveau riche elitism and classism kept F1 stuck in a bygone era, all while he fleeced teams, promoters, and by extension, fans for exorbitant fees that lined his own pockets and a decimated paddock. That is the legacy of Bernard Ecclestone. And if you don’t know his true history and not the fable he has spun to justify his abhorrent practices, it is you who are clueless.

        1. And, amongst other, quite despicable actions, he introduced and refined the concept of oligarchies/dictatorships hosting races and sponsorships to wash their sins. Then scaled the hosting price for classic tracks to match how high he could prices those indulgences, forcing ticket prices up and great tracks to abandon hosting.
          Every fan that spends on F1 today (tickets, subscriptions etc) and into the future contributes an indecent slice of that money to pay for Bernie’s actions.
          Other than that he was sometimes entertaining, if you like that sort of thing.

        2. So eloquently and accurately put. That gets my vote for COTD, Leroy.

        3. Seconded. Excellent summary.

        4. he fleeced teams, promoters, and by extension, fans for exorbitant fees that lined his own pockets

          And you think this isn’t happening under LM?

          1. @hollidog The FIA, FOM/Liberty and the teams are not in opposition, they’re all benefiting financially from making F1 a commercial success. Team leadership may grumble a bit about how much FOM is keeping to invest, but none of them lost any sleep – and definitely not any money – over it.

            The idea that F1 is the premier racing series is primarily based on F1 having by far the best marketing in the business, and second, that they are the fastest around any given lap. That first is largely Ecclestone’s success, as he created this mythic status around F1 that didn’t previously exist and one could argue isn’t really earned by its on track action and competition (or lack thereof), and the second is merely a choice. One that Indycar or the WEC could easily make as well. Motorsport technology isn’t cutting edge and hasn’t been since the early 1990s. Its regulations are crafted to keep laptimes under control and to emphasize whatever it is the governing body (and the manufacturer’s involved) think is important at any given time. That can be diesel engines at Le Mans, fancy roadcar-like bodywork in IMSA, or hybrid PUs in F1.

    2. Ecclestone was great and powerful. The transformation of F1 into the sole global racing series of note to a wider audience is in large part the result of his work. His greatest legacy is the creation of the “F1 fan”, a person who avidly follows F1, and wouldn’t know Brno from Watkins Glen. Nothing wrong with that, but this is the core of the commercial success that F1 is getting ridiculously rich off of to this day. Ecclestone also pioneered a predecessor to F1 TV in the early 2000s, and a lot of his public dismissal of online platforms had to do with the exclusive broadcasting contracts F1 had made before the online world became what it is now.

  2. A bit disappointed about lemans new class. The hypercars are very similar looking to the lmp1 which subjectively I don’t like however the part that I’m disappointed about is the fact all cars share the same chassis. Aero packages vary, peugeot’s is a good example but can’t stop thinking the new ferrari is a fake new wec entry like audi/porsche/bentley.

    1. @peartree The LMDh cars share a chassis (from LMP2 to DPi to LMDh), but the LMH cars don’t. They do have rather strict limitations, hence Peugeot not needing a rear wing to hit the maximum permitted downforce.

      1. Ok, so the LMH can design their own chassis even though the rules are very restrictive. As the lmh class can run their own engines. It is Audi/porsche that as usual are running the same car and competing on the lmdh sub category.

  3. The first time I’ve read a driver say anything along the lines of fearing while driving, so stepping down rather than continuing for next season is a wise move.

    I wish I didn’t start reading the Mirror headline.

    Gasly will attend this weekend’s annual Honda Thanks Day as he’s under contract to RB until the year’s end.

    Interesting & surprising stat indeed, but, of course, all runs end at some point eventually.
    In Hamilton’s case, I suppose the reference is that he had won at least a single race every year since his switch from karting to single-seaters in the early noughties.

    1. @jerejj

      The first time I’ve read a driver say anything along the lines of fearing while driving, so stepping down rather than

      I find it wise but in retrospect not totally surprising.

      I am sure RJ’s inferno affected him perhaps more than others “why do they keep showing it”

      On Indy “ovals scare me”

      and now this.
      Perhaps he’ll come back “good as new” or find a different motorsport that fits him at this stage like his favourite pair of jeans.

      Or maybe the limelight will be enough.
      (Actually what concerns me most is the lack of something like some people think I’m dangerous at 100%, then the smile,then back to being serious.)

      1. RG I meant of course.

  4. La Gazzetta Dello Sport still insisting on their anticipation of November the 15th by stating that Binotto has already resigned and the official announcement will be matter of hours.

    1. How strange they dismissed such rumors and then it really happens, don’t get the point.

  5. I think ditching Binotto would be a mistake as it just puts more pressure on the next guy to get results quickly or also be pushed aside.

    The biggest issue with Ferrari post Jean todt is that nobody has been given time to get a team in place and let everything come together. Not even Todt was able to turn things around immediately, It was a multi year project to get everyone in place and even when they had the team together it still took an extra year or two for that to come together completely which then led to that period of prolonged success.

    Mistakes were made this year but you need to be given time to look at those and learn from them. Replacing him will see the rebuilding process start from scratch as the new team principal will no doubt want to bring in a new team of people which will again take time which will again see the impatient Italian media calling for there head after a year or 2 of struggles. It’s the same pre/post Todt process repeating because nobody is given time in that role.

    1. Ferrari have by far the least competent pit wall, judging by their races. And the reason this has been the case for many years is because ferrari keeps trying to not dismiss people because of media pressure.
      Post Alonso Ferrari kept some Spanish ties, sponsorship and so forth and when they signed the family friend Sainz jnr, the team of Spanish engineers expanded. When people say ferrari needs to get rid of the italians, they are actually talking about the spanish technical team. Elkann has to step up and side step the Agnellis and the Sainzs and all the politics and focus the team into a race team.

    2. Binotto should have remained as a technical director. He is a brilliant engineer though a terrible team principle. He lacks the tenacity of both Wolff and Horner and as demonstrated this year even with the fastest all around car in the first part of the season, Ferrari failed to mount a serious title challenge because of recurrent operations disasters (strategy, pitstops…) and also for being on the receiving end of lobbying coming from rival teams that hurt them performance wise (TD039).

      Binotto to be honest was asking for this when he made it clear in 2018 that it will be either him or Arrivabene. The top management chose him and he didn’t deliver the goods. Remember that they had one of their worst seasons ever in what was their 1000 gp anniversary in 2020 and that was mainly due to what the PU department, which he oversaw and certainly knew what they were up to.

      1. @tifoso1989,
        Anybody currently working at Maranello who could be a better bet than Binotto? Genuinely asking.

        1. @praxis

          The issue is that Binotto has consistently proved to be insufficient as a team principle. He is a serious and competent engineer who certainly did his best. Though all the mistakes made during the season show that he failed to implement a valid process, or to hire the right people with regard to race operations .

          He also seems to lack the ruthlessness that other team directors have, especially Wolff and Horner. In short, an excellent technician but, as everyone had commented from the beginning, perhaps not suitable for the job. As for your question with regard who would replace him from inside the Scuderia.

          As a tifoso looking from the outside, I would say Antonello Coletta. Though he isn’t a technician, he has been involved in racing for 3 decades. First in Formula 3 and Formula 3000, then with Peugeot Italy, Alfa Romeo and finally in Ferrari since 1997 through multiple racing divisions Corse Clienti, Ferrari Challenge, GT and now their LMH program. He also worked briefly in the F1 team in 2014 when he was in charge of assisting Mattiacci.

          Though I highly suspect that Ferrari will compromise the LMH program that will mark their return to LeMans by assigning Coletta, who oversaw the development of the 499P, to the F1 team.

          For me the ideal candidate will be someone with racing instinct and guts that he isn’t in constant fear of losing his job and can stand up against external and internal pressure. Binotto for example has failed in both aspects and is now paying the price with his job. The external pressure is about taking the fight to both Wolff and Horner who have a proven track record of successful lobbying.

          The internal pressure is coming from the Sainz family and this is where Binotto has failed badly. It was clear that Sainz Jr lagged massively behind Leclerc pace wise from his first season but Ferrari didn’t set the hierarchy. Instead they kept compromising Leclerc’s racing by giving Sainz preferential strategies. Sainz and despite doing nothing special got his contract extended till 2024.

          With Vasseur as the possible replacement, the entire Ferrari pitwall is expected to change. Laurent Mekies will probably go to Alfa Romeo and the Spanish engineers will be replaced. Vasseur is sponsored by the Todt’s and he is someone that believes in the driver’s hierarchy (the n°1 and n°2 driver policy) which doesn’t bold well for Sainz.

          1. I’m sure vasseur should do a better job than binotto, and one thing about what you said, I agree, but don’t really like the fact wolff and horner can lobby the fia into changing stuff mid season to suit their car, that’s not how it should be; they shouldn’t be allowed to have their say on technical directives that can cause massive changes in competitiveness, as happened this year or 2013, or even last year with merc having stuff red bull was good at banned.

  6. @esploratore1
    Ferrari need someone like them to do the “dirty” work behind the scenes. If they will stick to fair play, values, principles… then they are not going to challenge for the championship even if they will build the fastest car. This year for example Wolff has managed to place his former advisor as a secretary of the sport.

    Straightaway after she was appointed a technical directive biased to Mercedes has been issued on the way to Canada and Mercedes were ready to the change despite the impossible timeline. It was rumoured that Ben Sulayem suspected something isn’t quite right and secretly asked 3 different F1 team about the rime necessary to implement such a change.

    Then the TD039 was issued and apart from the plank wear related measure, it contained the anti-porpoising measure which was also biased to Mercedes. After that came the leaks with regard to RBR cost cap saga and this where Christian Horner counterattacked Wolff and threatened legal actions against the FIA and the teams tarnishing his team’s reputation.

    He managed not only to take RBR off the hook but to turn back the issue to the FIA and Mercedes. After lots of lobbying from RBR, Ferrari also expressed concerns about her but not enough in my point of view, Shaila-Ann Rao was released from her duties. All this stuff is going on behind the scenes and Ferrari did nothing. Horner and Wolff in the politics department are two heavyweights, Ferrari in my opinion are still lightweight.

    They need to hire someone in the same weight class as Christian and Toto. When I say same weight class I don’t mean as successful as them. After all they were unknown before joining both RBR and Mercedes. Though as I said earlier someone with guts who isn’t in constant fear of losing his job.

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