Daniel Ricciardo says he’s already feeling the benefit of spending time out of competing in Formula 1 and has begun considering how to return.McLaren for 2023, but had his contract cut short amid a second disappointing season with the team last year, is now a reserve and test driver for Red Bull. This weekend he is attending his first grand prix back with the team that he left at the end of 2018.
Ricciardo said he wasn’t missing being part of the action. “It’s alright, honestly, I’m feeling I’m in a good place,” he told Fox Sports. “I’m happy to be here.
“But I’m also happy not competing this weekend, as much as I love it. I’m very [much] standing by my decision and I’m very happy to take some time off.”
Having spent four months out of the cockpit since his last race, Ricciardo said “a lot more stuff makes sense now” about the difficulties which led to his departure from McLaren last year.
“Once you’re in the season, it’s relentless. All you really have a chance to do is dissect the last race and [say] ‘okay, the set up was this and we’ll do that next time’. You don’t actually get a look at the big picture.
“Even like now I look back and even like the last two years at McLaren and I’m like, ‘okay, yeah, I understand why that didn’t work,’ ‘I would have done that better or done that differently or cut these things out or added that’.
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“So I’m even in a position now, only a few months removed from last season, where if I get back on the grid next year I already have things that I want to do different and it’s quite cool. I wouldn’t have had that if I was still in the race car.”
Any thoughts he had about not watching the new season were quickly dispelled, Ricciardo admitted.
“Coming into this year, I just wanted to take it as it comes and not really set too much of a plan or a schedule,” he said. “I want everything to come naturally and the hunger, the desire, the motivation, all of that stuff, I want it just to be organic, so to speak.
“There’s already some things, even the first couple of races, I was watching on the sofa. A couple of months ago I was like ‘I don’t even know if I’ll watch’. But Friday practice was on and I was [following] live timing.
“So I still am very invested in it and I love it. And I’m sure the more months that pass in this season, the more I’ll probably get a clear answer. I don’t feel done with it. I already feel a little bit revitalised.”
Red Bull brought Ricciardo into F1 in 2011 and he admitted he is enjoying his return to a familiar team. “I’m just enjoying I think being back at Red Bull as well and just being in that family with a lot of familiar faces.”
Ricciardo admitted he has begun thinking of a return and has already realised it needs to be with a competitive team. “One thing I want to get out of this year is I want to know what I want, but I also want to know what I don’t want,” he said. “And I think I can already answer that.
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“I don’t want to go back to ground zero. I don’t want to just be on the grid [in order] to be on the grid and struggle in 18th place. So I don’t want to be on the grid at any cost.”
He admitted setting that goal will make it more difficult to find a team for 2024. “I know that it’s harder to just jump straight into a top team in terms of availability. But I know that’s where I want to be. I know I thrive in those situations when there is more on the line.
“I think at this point in my career to [have] that real hunger and motivation to race at the front, that’s that’s all I really want. I know it probably makes it even a little harder to get to, but that’s where I’m looking.”
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9 comments on ““Revitalised” Ricciardo says he wants F1 return but “not at any cost””
31st March 2023, 16:04
His main issue is that teams would probably be less eager to let one of their current drivers go for him than before his failed Mclaren stint.
As things stand, a full-time return for next season is unrealistic as driver plans for the medium-long term are clear for most teams & they involve continuing with current drivers or replacing with someone else instead when carefully thinking through different options & scenarios.
31st March 2023, 16:26
He speaks about not wanting to go back ‘ground zero’ and talks about getting spots in the top teams like he’s practically guaranteed a spot, which confuses me as off the back of his most recent performances he’s not getting anywhere near a ‘top’ seat anymore. Him saying that driving at the front is where he thrives and where he wants to be is all well and good but how is that any different to any other driver on the grid? Many of whom that have demonstrated better than he has lately. Don’t get me wrong, Ricciardo’s a great driver and the grid is weaker without a strong Ricciardo, but he’s not been that strong for some time.
31st March 2023, 23:24
I’ve always thought you only ever got the best of Dan when a p1 in qual or the race was possible, even in his last season with red Bull he took pole and wins when they were available, not so good when they weren’t and the one genuine chance McLaren had, he took it too. At Renault once he knew podiums were possible I think we also saw a more focused Dan
31st March 2023, 16:27
And therein lies the difference between Ricciardo and the all-time great athletes. The recent all-time greats didn’t wait for hunger or motivation to arrive organically; they set out to find it. And when it didn’t exist, they made it up. Slights (perceived or real), “it’s me against the doubters/world”, etc. have all been used by the like of Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, Muhammad Ali, Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, etc. to give them the hunger and motivation to dominate their opponents. If Ricciardo is waiting for that to drop in his lap, I think he is going to be waiting around for a while.
As a Ricciardo fan, I wish he would just go into broadcasting at this point.
31st March 2023, 16:48
I don’t want him back. F1 should consist out of the best of the best and he ain’t willing to do what it takes to be the absolute best. When he was younger you could see the fire but the fire has gone out some time ago. F1 should look elsewhere. Lots of talent in the junior categories and overseas.
31st March 2023, 17:22
It’s a fair take. Some people like the thrill of the F1 racing enough to settle for racing in the midfield. For others the thrill of fighting for wins and championships is more exciting, so they adjust their goals and race in other categories. Totally normal that different people see it differently.
But a top team seat for Ricciardo? Not sure where he expects that to come up.
31st March 2023, 22:08
I guess a midfield spot is the best he can realistically aim for, unless for some reason red bull gets rid of perez, but he’s doing fine.
31st March 2023, 20:01
That’s the thing with him, he acts like he’s still the same big deal he was in ’14, but that ship has sailed. His generation is almost all gone, Max and other younger guys own F1 now and will for the next dozen of years.
The best he can get is not what he think he is worth so, in reality, unless they fire Perez, he’s done.
1st April 2023, 0:37
It astounds me that this year there are more signs here at Albert Park for former F1 driver Daniel RiccIardo then there was for all Melbourne Grand Prix races in which Mark Webber participated!
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