Daniel Ricciardo insists he is not being ARROGANT as he refuses to start F1 career from scratch and will only drive for a top team in 2024
- Aussie is back at Red Bull as reserve driver
- Came after split with McLaren
- Wants to return to the grid, but only with top team
Daniel Ricciardo has refused to start his F1 career from scratch and will only drive for a top team in 2024.
Ricciardo opted to take a gap year following a disappointing two-year stint at McLaren, where he was unceremoniously sacked last year.
He is now back with Red Bull as a reserve driver, and remains confident that he will return to the grid next season.
However, he is only interested in a top seat and not any seat that will require him to start from scratch.
Ricciardo insists that his decision is not driven by arrogance, but by his desire to perform at his best and thrive.
A happier and refreshed Ricciardo wants to return to a top drivers position in 2024, but only with the right car and the right team
Former Australian f1 world champion Alan Jones gives some sage advice to Ricciardo during the Aussie GP in Melbourne
He believes that starting from scratch will not stimulate him or give him the second wind he is looking for.
‘I knew this was going to be a risk obviously removing myself from a seat. But I think it’s clear what I don’t want. I don’t want [just] any seat next year… I don’t want to just start from zero, and kind of build my [F1] career from scratch,’ he said.
‘It’s not coming from an arrogant place. But I’m just past that. I don’t think that’s going to stimulate me or give me that second wind I’m looking for.
‘So it makes the top seats even scarcer. But that’s where I know I will be able to perform at my best and thrive.’
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has revealed that Ricciardo picked up a number of bad habits during his time at McLaren, which suggests that he was overcompensating for a poor car.
However, the Red Bull team has rallied around him to help build him back up. Ricciardo is now feeling more confident and has moved on from the lows he felt under Zak Brown.
‘I felt like everyone was excited for me to come back and it was kind of like open arms,’ he said.
‘I didn’t expect everyone that I used to work with to be as kind of high [about it] as I am. I think it’s cool. I’ve moved on, I’ve matured. I’ve lived and learned. And I’ve kind of grown through it all.
‘The first day back at Red Bull in the simulator was the most fun I’ve ever had driving a simulator. Which is crazy, especially because at this point in my career that’s normally the boring work.
‘But Simon [Rennie], my engineer at the time at Red Bull, he’s running the sim now. So it was like we were back in the routine of 2018 and mate, I loved it. It took me a few laps to get going and, once I did, it all felt familiar again.
‘I would honestly say in a day my confidence went from being probably pretty low to back at the levels I remember being at.’
Ricciardo has been doing work behind the scenes for Red Bull and being part of the support crew for Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez
Ricciardo poses for a photo with tennis champion Ashleigh Barty in the Paddock during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Albert Park
One team that could be interested in the Aussie F1 star is Haas, with team principal Guenther Steiner revealing that he had spoken with Ricciardo prior to the Formula 1 paddock landing Down Under.
However Steiner insisted those talks did not include contract negotiations for 2024.
‘Not at the moment, Daniel’s with Red Bull, I don’t know for how long,’ Steiner told Sky Sports News.
‘I actually was with Danny on the plane to Australia so we had a little bit of a chat. Not about the contract just about general life, we didn’t even go there to be honest.
‘I don’t know, Danny wanted to take a year out and then see what he wants to do next and I think when he’s ready he will phone people up and say ‘I’m ready again.’