West Australian Formula 1 ace Daniel Ricciardo still dreaming of Red Bull finale

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Aaron KirbyThe West Australian
Daniel Ricciardo wants to finish his career at Red Bull.
Camera IconDaniel Ricciardo wants to finish his career at Red Bull. Credit: Joe Portlock/Getty Images

Daniel Ricciardo admits he still harbours ambitions of becoming a Formula One world champion and believes returning to Red Bull would be the dream finish to his career.

The West Aussie spent six months of the 2023 season on the sidelines as Red Bull’s reserve driver after being unceremoniously axed by McLaren in favour of Aussie rookie Oscar Piastri.

However, he was parachuted into Red Bull’s sister team, AlphaTauri, mid-season after they parted ways with accident-prone Dutchman Nyck de Vries.

And while Ricciardo is keen to push his current team as high up the standings in 2024 as possible after a good fight back this year, he said his ambitions are to earn a seat back alongside World Champion Max Verstappen.

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“I am not going to put a day or date on it, or a year whatever, but coming back into it and jumping back in with the Red Bull family, that is really the dream,” Ricciardo told the Beyond the Grid podcast.

“To end my career as a Red Bull driver would be perfect.

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“Not that I am looking at the end, but if I got back there, I would make sure I finished there.”

There were rumours during the back end of the season Red Bull was considering replacing Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez as early as next season, but after a solid finish to the campaign, the Mexican is set to hold his seat.

After spending the first half of the season on the simulator, Ricciardo was given a shot to prove he still had what it takes to be a Formula One driver during a testing session at Silverstone, a chance he grabbed with both hands.

“I knew if this test went well, things could change quickly,” he said.

“I really believed I could do a great test.

“(I thought) ‘It’s up to you now; this is in your hands. Honestly, your future could hang on it.’ It was good to feel that pressure again.”

Daniel Ricciardo prepares to drive in the garage during Formula 1 testing at Yas Marina Circuit.
Camera IconDaniel Ricciardo prepares to drive in the garage during Formula 1 testing at Yas Marina Circuit. Credit: Joe Portlock/Getty Images

“In the first run, I actually spun twice. At turn four, I had a spin, very low-speed hairpin, just a little bit eager on the throttle. Then I had a spin at turn seven, another slow-speed corner, and I did a tiny little loop and got it going, but it wasn’t like I was in the gravel or anything.

“The very first time I went through turn one at high speed, I thought my helmet was going to fly off. You forget how intense it is on your body and how fast these cars are.

“I did eight to 10 laps, then came back in. We put some new tyres on and FP2 fuel in the car, and I am not going to sugar-coat it: the first timed lap I did was on the money.

“Crossing the line, when I looked at the time, I did not expect to go that quick.”

The 34-year-old was back in a main-driver seat shortly after, and he has returned his sights to achieving the loftiest ambition of all.

MONTREAL, QC - JUNE 08:  Racewinner Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Infiniti Red Bull Racing is carried aloft by his pit crew following his frst grand prix victory during the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 8, 2014 in Montreal, Canada.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Camera IconDaniel Ricciardo has not given up on his World Championship dream. Credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

“Do I still want to be world champion? Yes,’’ he said.

“Has it been a dream of mine since I was a kid? Yes.

“Maybe it’s just because I’ve seen Max (Verstappen) or whoever else, and they are still waking up the same person.

“It’s just that you take a little bit of pressure off it. It’s not going to change me as a human; therefore, it’s not going to change my life.

“I know my mum and dad are going to look at me the same way whether I’m a world champion or not.

“There is probably a bit of perspective. I still want it, and I still deep down believe I can do it, but it’s not going to change the course of my life.”

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