Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull RB19 livery launch, 2023

Australian GP ‘will tell me a lot’ about my desire to return – Ricciardo

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In the round-up: Red Bull’s new reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo talks about when he will be back in the paddock.

In brief

Ricciardo to make F1 paddock return in Australia

Ricciardo will be Red Bull’s reserve driver for the first time this year at his home race, the Australian Grand Prix, which is the third race of the season.

“I’ll be watching the first race likely on television,” said Ricciardo, who has returned to Red Bull this year after losing his race seat at McLaren. “I think that’ll start to maybe warm up a few feelings and then I’ll be in Melbourne. That’ll be the first race I attend.”

Ricciardo’s absence from the first two grands prix means Liam Lawson will likely be called up to be reserve driver for those events.

“Being around the whole atmosphere and the noise, the sound, like the smell, all of it [will have an impact],” Ricciardo added on what it will be mean to be back at the track in Melbourne.

“That’ll probably do what it does, and whether I’m stoked and excited and wanting to get back or whatever, I’m just kind of happy being a fan for a bit longer, we’ll see. But I think I think Melbourne will probably tell me quite a lot.”

Red Bull sponsorship almost sold out

World champions Red Bull are running out of sponsorship opportunities to sell, according to a report. “We have many partners and we want to ensure we’re delivering for all our partners with a high level of service and activation,” the team’ commercial director Nick Stocker told Sports Business Journal, “so it comes to a point where we actually have to say, ‘The shop is shut and we have enough partners for the team.’

“But luckily we’re not yet in that position – we have a few more to sell in the market.”

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Indy Nxt grid grows to 18 cars

Jamie Chadwick has joined grid of renamed Indy NXT series
Indy Nxt, the primary support series to IndyCar, has grown to 18 full-time entries for 2023 in a big shift for the category. In recent years it has struggled to reach 15 drivers doing the full season, and the 2020 season was cancelled due a combination of a lack of entries and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest addition to the 2023 grid is Colin Kaminsky, who comes up from the USF Pro 2000 series and will race for the Abel Motorsports team.

Former Renault sponsor joins McLaren

DP World, the title sponsor of the Renault F1 team in 2020, has partnered with McLaren this year.

The Emirati multinational logistics company will work on “reimagining” the team’s supply chain, and its branding will appear on the overalls of McLaren’s drivers and also on the livery of the new MCL60 car, which will be unveiled at the team’s Woking headquarters next Monday.

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Social media

Notable posts from Twitter, Instagram and more:

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Comment of the day

Nikolas Tombazis now has day-to-day responsibility for running F1 as FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has taken a step back:

For the most part, F1 sort of governs itself. There really isn’t much of a reason for Ben Sulayem to be quoted on anything really. Mosley got involved and did it publicly which just wasn’t needed, he could have done the things he did privately (not that thing).

Jean Todt remaining largely in the background and not getting embroiled in stuff I think is a better way to be efficient. Ben Sulayem isn’t getting out the tape measure to test wings etc, he has people to do that for him. If Tombazis is going to be ‘Mr F1’ from now on, I think it’d be wise that he is ‘around’ without being everywhere.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Bullfrog and Akshay!

Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching Photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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40 comments on “Australian GP ‘will tell me a lot’ about my desire to return – Ricciardo”

  1. That’s odd, one would think an F1 team would always take a sponsor. I guess it’s moreso a nice way of saying “what you bring as a sponsor isn’t valuable enough.”

    1. There’s still a finite number of spots for sponsors. First off there’s sticker placing on car, where it is, the size of it, how many other sponsors are allowed “near” it, same thing of course with race suits, or the boards behind the drivers during interviews. All of these are paid for and agreed upon contractually. They have to give each sponsor contracted their appropriate agreed upon spots and exposure. This generally also comes with appearances by the drivers at events, races, etc. That is also a factor, they only have so much time to do sponsor events before they run out… I assume the drivers themselves have this number written into their contract as well, either as a hard number or a soft agreement of “lets not overdo it with the sponsor obligations, alright?”

      Then finally there’s sponsors conflicting with one another. This will likely also be part of the contract with the sponsor. Nike wouldn’t want to be advertising on the same car as Adidas. Or HP wouldn’t want to be on the same car as Dell. Things like that is also a good cause to decline doing a sponsorship deal.

      1. Although you do get teams like Manchester United who have an official Asian noodle partner or whatever, whose name is never on their shirts or around the side of the pitch, but they can slap photos of players all over their product and benefit from the association. I would have thought there could be opportunities like that where the name might not be on the car, but a sponsor would happily pay so they can use Red Bull imagery in their marketing, have their name appear somewhere as an official sponsor on the RBR website, etc.

  2. Ricciardo doesn’t necessarily do himself much favor by openly stating his need for motivation that could possibly turn down some teams, not that he really has any viable choices specifically cornerning 2024 anyway, as teams have clear driver plans for the medium & or longer-term that don’t feature him.

    1. Agree.

      Talk of ‘may be I want to be a fan for bit longer’ is going to only reduce other teams’ interest.

      Looks like we have seen the end of his F1 career. Really sad. Alas, life moves on.

      1. I kind of agree. Ricciardo is not an Alonso with so many lives and he is currently depreciating in value compared to the up coming talents. It is going to be very difficult for him to make a come back. His performance against Norris has placed him on the wrong side of the driver shoping window. I don’t know what happened to him suddenly.

        1. It might be interesting in years to come, if people open up about what exactly happened to him at McLaren. ‘The car doesn’t suit him’ isn’t really a viable reason for a driver of his calibre. There’s a thing I remember Brundle saying where Flavio Briatore apologised to him years later for letting him go from Benetton at the end of 92′. Briatore said he didn’t realise how good Schumacher was, and in retrospect should have given Brundle more credit for being so close to him.

          But nobody is really making the argument that Lando is the next Schumacher. But what if Lando really does just out performing the car? I’m not saying he does, but it is possible. Perhaps the most significant thing for Daniels career is how Piastri holds up against Lando. If Piastri out performs Lando, once again it doesn’t look great for Daniel.

          1. It’s never looked great for Daniel since he sat in a McLaren and it’s never going to, nobody cares now if the reason he outperformed Vettel was due to his style matching the car or something else. The orange car certainly suited Lando better but it could, just could suit Piastri even better than that.

    2. He’s either taking a “sabatical” like Mika did. Or he’s already got his plans for next season in order. Given what we know from Ricciardo, I think he’s no longer interested in driving for midfield teams. From the top 3, there’s only one team that realistically would contract him at this point and he’s contracted with them as a third driver. So he’s either driving for them (next year) or he’s retired. I think it’s that simple.

  3. Going to Melbourne and not racing won’t be easy on Dan. Only a freak injury, illness from an existing F1 driver will give him a chance to get back on the grid for a race this season. If he doesn’t race this season.. I can’t see any team trying to sign him up for 2024 (Haas and Williams might be an outside shot, but still unlikely)

    1. @todfod I share your view, although regarding Haas & Williams, if he were interested in driving for them, he would’ve attempted to join for the upcoming season.
      Besides, their driver plans are clear for the medium to long term, so his chance for these teams is effectively gone.
      I don’t see any realistic chance for a 2024 full-time return, but maybe the season after.

      1. @jerejj

        He’ll be really old in 2025. Pretty much at retirement age. Would be a real shame if we’ve seen his last race already. Norris did destroy his career… But it feels like he needs one shot at redemption

        1. @todfod True, although only in his mid-30s by that year rather than early-40s like, for example, Alonso & Schumi when they returned, not to mention Hulkenberg, with less success achieved in F1 than him, managed to become a full-time driver again in his mid-30s despite being away for three seasons, but a difficult situation nevertheless.

          1. Yes @jerejj. To say Daniel will be really old to make a comeback is just not true. He will be 35 at the start of the 2025 season. If he was going to be 38/39 then I would be concerned for him.

            Realistically though, I think the only team he might be interested in making a return with, that would offer him a place near the top of the pile, would be Red Bull. We know that he’s probably already turned down the prospect of racing at somewhere like Haas or similar.

            If Sergio has a poor 2023/4 then I guess Dan does have a reasonable chance. But then there’s De Vries at AT.

  4. I don’t understand why Ricciardo seemingly didn’t consider an Indycar switch when his F1 opportunities dried up. He’d be a perfect fit for Indycar, both from a marketing perspective and in terms of his driving style. I know Arrow McLaren had more drivers than they knew what to do with, but someone else could surely have provided a car.

    1. I don’t think there’s a team owner in Indycar willing to pay what it would take to make Daniel’s ears perk up.

      Indycar as a series has no cachet beyond the 500, and no reasonable person would choose to compete there over even a remote chance of returning to Formula 1 racing.

      1. A fair and roughly equal chance of beating everyone in Indycar (almost universally seen as the world’s best open-wheel series for drivers) – or a tiny chance of a competitive car and an even smaller chance of having the team around him in F1….

        Yeah…. Tough choice.

        1. beating everyone in Indycar

          What’s that supposed to do to one’s reputation and career?

          Where has “beating everyone in Indycar” gotten Misters Dixon, Franchitti, Hunter-Reay, Power, Pagenaud, Newgarden, and Palou?

          Sebastien Bourdais was the last US open-wheel Champion to get a chance at F1, and that was 15 years ago and didn’t turn out particularly well.

          If that dead-end of a series is the alternative, of course, you’ll choose to be one tennis accident or stomach bug away from racing the best car in Formula 1.

          1. Where has “beating everyone in Indycar” gotten Misters Dixon, Franchitti, Hunter-Reay, Power, Pagenaud, Newgarden, and Palou?

            To the top of the world’s premier open wheel drivers series.
            Nothing wrong with the professional reputations or careers (or bank accounts) of any of the top Indycar guys. They are every bit as skilled, talented and dedicated as anyone who chooses a path into F1.

            If that dead-end of a series is the alternative, of course, you’ll choose to be one tennis accident or stomach bug away from racing the best car in Formula 1.

            Get over your biased and unjustifiable F1-fanatisism. F1 isn’t the best of the best of anything – F1 is just F1. Just another racing series with it’s own unique set of rules and challenges.
            If you can’t see why a driver might choose Indycar over F1, then you really aren’t looking.

            How is Indycar a dead-end series and F1 not, anyway? Where does F1 lead to?
            A further career in socio-political activism?

            It’s hard to discuss the differences between Indycar and F1 with someone who clearly doesn’t watch, understand and appreciate them both equally….

          2. They are every bit as skilled, talented and dedicated as anyone who chooses a path into F1.

            If that were the case, how has not a single IndyCar Champion since 2007 made the switch to Formula 1?

            If you can’t see why a driver might choose Indycar over F1, then you really aren’t looking.

            I can see which drivers have chosen to continue their career in IndyCar after their time in Formula 1 came to a close.

            As for drivers having chosen IndyCar over Formula 1, I’m drawing a blank. Has anyone done that in this Millennium?

            How is Indycar a dead-end series and F1 not

            Feeder series vs pinnacle of motorsport.

            appreciate them both equally

            I appreciate series for what they are. No rose-coloured glasses. No hopium.

          3. If that were the case, how has not a single IndyCar Champion since 2007 made the switch to Formula 1?

            Why would they want to? They enjoy what they are doing, and are winning where they are. Most are also paid very generously, if that’s important to them.

            As for drivers having chosen IndyCar over Formula 1, I’m drawing a blank. Has anyone done that in this Millennium?

            I don’t think I need to list them all, but just take a look at almost all of Indycar’s drivers ‘in this millennium.’

            Feeder series vs pinnacle of motorsport.

            What does ‘pinnacle’ mean in this context, exactly? I don’t think it applies to F1 any more than it does to Indycar – at least in a driving/driver sense. It may subjectively refer more to the technical rules – but even then, F1 is no more technically advanced (and is certainly less diverse) than, say, GT3. Drag racing and hillclimbs have more going on in that aspect than F1 does.

            Regardless – Indycar is the top of the American (ACCUS) open-wheel ladder, and F1 is the top of the (global, but predominantly European) FIA open wheel ladder. Indycar does not lead to F1.
            FIA do allow Super Licence points to be awarded in Indycar, but then the FIA allow Super Licence points to be awarded in a large number of other series too, right down to karting.
            Note that multiple Indycar drivers (and several drivers in other ‘non-feeder’ series too) do have a sufficient number of Super Licence point to compete in F1, but simply have no interest in doing so.

            If you appreciate what the two series are, how on Earth have you come to the conclusion that anyone who chooses to follow a path into F1 is somehow a better sportsperson than one who chooses a different career path?
            Is a cosmetic surgeon better or worse than a brain surgeon? Is a painter a better artist than someone who creates digital art? How about an Italian chef versus a French chef – who is better?

          4. I don’t think I need to list them all

            Oh, please do!

            Indycar does not lead to F1.

            My point exactly, hence:

            “no reasonable person would choose to compete there over even a remote chance of returning to Formula 1 racing.”

          5. I’ll be honest, I’m really not interested enough to find or make a list of the possibly ~100+ (?) drivers who have competed in Indycar in the last 23 years (this millennium) who have chosen not to switch to F1.
            Feel free to trawl through Wiki or Indycar’s own stats pages for them all yourself.

            “no reasonable person would choose to compete there over even a remote chance of returning to Formula 1 racing.”

            But they do. Dozens of them do it every year – repeatedly. Some have been doing it for 20 years or more.
            You think that because they don’t want a dud car and team in F1 with zero chance of even reaching the podium, they aren’t ‘reasonable people.’

            If your argument is based exclusively on the word “returning” then I’ll apologise for completely ignoring it. It’s a non-point AFAIC, as there are so few drivers who even want a second shot in F1 if they’ve already left it (usually because they had a dud car and team in F1).
            ‘Reasonable’ drivers who have moved to Indycar won’t entertain the idea of ‘returning’ to F1 for anything but a guaranteed top 2 or top 3 car – which will never even be offered. F1 doesn’t work that way anymore.

            Magnussen (for example) clearly knows he won’t win anything at Haas. When instead he could have done quite well in other series, he’d rather drive around in the midfield (or at the back) of the F1 pack.
            Is that reasonable…? I guess if he’s okay with it…

          6. Feel free to trawl through Wiki or Indycar’s own stats pages for them all yourself.

            As I said above, I’m drawing a blank.

            If your argument is based exclusively on the word “returning”

            My argument is exclusively what I wrote.


            Too bad Kevin didn’t have an Indycar contract for 2022, otherwise, he’d be the perfect candidate for choosing either that or a return to Formula 1.

            Unfortunately, we’re left with a bunch of drivers that don’t qualify but would instantly jump at the chance of F1, and the one who does qualify but was busy signing all sorts of Indycar contracts for 2023.

          7. What we’re left with is a series full of Indycar drivers who just don’t want to waste their time in F1.

            Not that that relates to your argument, apparently.

      2. If Ricciardo wants to sit on the sidelines and crack juvenile jokes to make Red Bull look hip at media events, that’s fair enough.

        It doesn’t say anything about Indycar though, which as S notes is a much more competitive open-wheel series than F1 has ever been, and features such a wide variety of tracks that no one team or driver can excel at all of them making for a much more unpredictable fan experience.

        That said, it’s totally fair that not all drivers are willing to race on superspeedways. That is indeed one step beyond what many consider a reasonable risk, and thus Indycar is not a viable option for everyone.

        1. It doesn’t say anything about Indycar though

          It says everything about Indycar:

          The teams don’t have the money or don’t want to spend it. The drivers are a bunch of never-have-beens. The series is competing for a trophy no one cares for. And winning said trophy has proven to get you absolutely nowhere.

          Professionally speaking, you might as well stay home and light your super license on fire.

          1. Now you’re just embarrassing yourself. Clearly not what most people would describe as a motorsports enthusiast.

          2. That voice in the back of your head telling you that this isn’t the right time. No matter how much you want it to be.

            Learn to trust it.

  5. Ricciardo’s McLaren move will likely go down as one of the worst career choices in the history of the sport but I feel he’s a victim of recency bias. If we look back at his last 5 years, the first third of 2018 he was a title contender and badly suffered from unreliablity. 2019 was solid, 2020 I thought he was sensational. McLaren was clearly a disaster but he did still win a race. One poor season in the past 5 could be levelled at any number of drivers. Indeed Alpine have 2 and if DR hadn’t burnt his bridges with them I think the team would have had him back based on quality.

    I respect him for not accepting the poor options at Haas or Williams, but I’d argue he’s still a better driver than the 4 in those seats. His trouble is that there isn’t going to be an opening anywhere else beside AT or RB. The junior drivers look nothing special to me; Hauger would need a significant title charge to convince me. If Perez falls out with the team at least DR’s in the right place to pick up the pieces. But I think he’ll get to Melbourne and catch the bug again.

    Motivation can always be rekindled, quality cannot. He’s still got the quality in my eyes.

    1. Ricciardo’s McLaren move will likely go down as one of the worst career choices in the history of the sport

      Daniel’s bank account begs to differ. (he’s also back at Red Bull instead of driving another Enstone stinker while trying his hardest to appear tres français.

      1. His large wage was provided by Enstone which meant his motivation to leave wasn’t money. I’ve ruminated before here that I think with COVID round the corner he thought the investment from Renault would drop off and he got cold feet.

        I’m not sure they’d thank you for calling the car a stinker either – they finished 4th, best of the rest. I’ll never understand why Ricciardo joined Mclaren – he left a team built around a young hotshoe to join a team built around a young hotshoe – it was always going to fail.

        1. best of the rest

          Or worst of the works teams, as I like to describe it.

          1. I think it’s important to have context for these sort of statements. The cars not a stinker if it’s fourth best out of ten. Comparison to works teams infers similar budgets and resources. Enstone have nearly been bankrupt in the past 10 years and were spending $270m a season compared to $450m for the big three.

          2. Honda being the drizzling #2s in 2007 and 2008 didn’t make them any less of a works team, and neither does Enstone being the slowest of the four currently in Formula 1.

            As for the budget, no works team has any excuses for not taking full advantage of their allocated capped expenses.

          3. Honda did have a stinker. They had a huge budget and were running around at the back. Enstone were 4th, that’s not a fair equivalence.

            They have the “excuse” if being 15% owned by the French state which had to wipe $2b of costs from the car company during the pandemic. They’ve clearly been impacted to a much harder degree than the other 3. It’s apples and oranges.

            I think it’s grossly unfair to suggest Enstone and the workers there did a bad job when they performed exactly to their budget and have had numerous external factors plague the team over the past decade.

    2. @rbalonso
      AT is a no-go for him anyway, so only RBR. Any driver change scenario in the B-team would involve a program driver, & while they need to perform decently for an F1 chance, Hauger isn’t the only option nor necessarily even the most likely, but Iwasa. Additionally, other such drivers are in F2 & Lawson in SF.
      All have an equal chance initially for an F1 promotion, or TSU-DEV duo stays regardless. We’ll see.

      1. I’m not sure. AT tried to get Herta and are running De Vries so they’re not as rigidly committed to the junior programme as they once were. Ricciardo would be going back to his first team to round off his career and would be a good benchmark if De Vries attracts wider interest.

        I’ve not been impressed by any of the junior drivers tbh. Hauger at least had a monster F3 season but struggled last year. The others placed in F2 roughly where I’d have them. Vips had his ‘incident’, Lawson had some scrappy results midseason as did Iwasa. Daruvala doesn’t seem F1 level for me either. There’s lots of names there but none have won anything convincingly other than Hauger and all were miles off the title last year.

        AT are fundamentally competing with other teams who have massive experience, Aston, Alpine, Alfa and Haas. I think they’d be wise to put experience in there until they get the next Seb or Max. One thing’s for sure – they’re not in F2 just now.

  6. I agree with COTD. I think the FIA role is something best done without being too visible or being too publicly vocal.

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