Aussie F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo has appeared to drop a hint that he wants to drive for Red Bull in the 2024 season after taking the year off. Ricciardo was axed by McLaren in 2022 despite having one year remaining on his contract, with compatriot Oscar Piastri replacing him.
Ricciardo has since returned to Red Bull in a reserve driver role behind Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, but revealed in March that he hopes to back on the grid in 2024. The Aussie gave a hint during the Australian GP that he liked being back at Red Bull when F1 commentator Ted Kravitz said it was unusual seeing him on the pit wall and not driving.
Ricciardo replied: “I look good in these colours though right?” The Australian was clearly referring to his return to Red Bull.
And in his latest interview with ESPN, Ricciardo hinted that he could be eyeing a spot as the second driver at Red Bull. “I’ve been in the simulator, but I will drive the RB19 (for the first time) in July after the Silverstone race,” Ricciardo said.
“Then maybe I’ll get another one after Monza as well in September. I’m certainly excited to drive a fast car, but also a car that maybe still feels familiar to me – it does a little bit in the sim.
“But I’m just excited to drive again and to just try to remind a team obviously I once had a lot of success with that I can still turn a fast lap.”
The second driver for Red Bull is Mexican Sergio Perez who is currently second to No.1 driver and world champion Max Verstappen. The pair reportedly share a frosty relationship, but that doesn't mean it will be any easy task for Ricciardo to come back as a lead driver.
Daniel Ricciardo keen for 2024 F1 return
Speaking at the Australian GP, Ricciardo reiterated that he sees himself returning to the grid in 2024, but won't settle for a team who can't contend. “One thing I want to get out of this year is, yes, I want to know what I want, but I also know what I don't want,” he said. “And I think I can already answer that.
“I don’t want to go back to ground zero. I don’t want to just be on the grid to be on the grid and struggle in 18th place. I don’t want to be on the grid at all costs or at any cost.
“I also know myself that yes, it’s harder to then just jump straight into a top team in terms of availability, but I know that that’s where I want to be. I thrive in those situations when there is more on the line and I think at this point in my career, that real hunger and motivation to race at the front, 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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