Daniel Ricciardo’s unexpected turning point: Rediscovering his love for F1
Daniel Ricciardo, the Australian Formula 1 driver, is not willing to settle for anything less than a top team for his potential return to the sport. While he has expressed his desire to return to racing, he clarified that his reluctance to consider certain teams is not due to arrogance, but rather his renewed confidence since joining Red Bull.
Daniel Ricciardo has clarified that his reluctance to consider certain Formula 1 teams for a potential return is not due to arrogance, but rather his renewed confidence since joining Red Bull.
Despite the availability of race seats at Haas and Williams when he returned as third driver for Red Bull, McLaren opted to drop Ricciardo prematurely to sign Oscar Piastri for this season.
Although Ricciardo’s motivation to return to F1 is increasing after a longer break over the winter, he remains steadfast in his desire for a seat with a front-running team.
Daniel Ricciardo recently spoke with Top Gear and expressed that he is not intimidated by the risk of potentially not finding a seat in a top Formula 1 team for next season.
He acknowledged that removing himself from his previous seat was a calculated risk, but he knows what he doesn’t want for his future in F1.
He explained that he does not want to start from scratch and rebuild his career, as he feels he has already progressed beyond that point. He emphasized that this is not arrogance, but rather a desire to find a team that will stimulate him and reignite his passion for the sport.
Despite this making top seats harder to come by, he is determined to keep his focus on finding a team where he can perform at his best and thrive.
Daniel Ricciardo has commented that his return to Red Bull has exceeded his expectations in terms of his integration with the team and the impact it has had on his recovery from a challenging period at McLaren. Following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2022, Ricciardo returned home and took a two-month break before traveling to the United States, where he attended the Super Bowl and purposefully avoided any activities related to racing for nearly three months.
Surprisingly, Ricciardo claimed that driving the simulator on his first day back at Red Bull was the most enjoyable simulator session he had ever experienced, despite the work typically being tedious at this point in his career.
He attributed this to his engineer, Simon Rennie, who previously worked with him at Red Bull and now runs the sim. He shared that it took him a few laps to get back in the groove, but once he did, everything felt familiar and his confidence surged back to levels he had not experienced in some time.
He described the day as a turning point, and felt that the time off had allowed him to forget about the last two years and approach his work with a fresh perspective.
Daniel Ricciardo is taking advantage of his F1 sabbatical by living a more selfless life and spending quality time with his friends and family.
After enduring a difficult period with McLaren, the Australian driver has taken a well-publicized year off from racing. While taking on the third driver role with Red Bull, Ricciardo participated in the Australian Grand Prix weekend in Melbourne and has been keeping busy with simulator sessions.
Additionally, he may participate in tyre testing and show runs later in the year. However, for the most part, the 33-year-old has a flexible schedule and is enjoying making up for lost time by spending more time with his loved ones. In particular, he has been cherishing moments with his nephew and niece, such as teaching his nephew how to ride a bike and witnessing his progress.
As he spends a year assessing his future, Daniel Ricciardo is enjoying experiences that he has missed out on during his racing career. Earlier this year, he attended his first-ever bachelor party for a friend in Las Vegas, which was a new and exciting experience for him. The eight-time grand prix winner is taking the time to assess his priorities and consider what he wants in life, not just in racing.
Although he has been training on his days off, spending time in the simulator, and closely following the sport, he is aware that deciding to return to racing is not a decision he will make lightly. Ricciardo acknowledges that he has lived selfishly in the pursuit of his racing career, and now feels that he owes it to his family and friends to spend more time with them.
Daniel Ricciardo feels grateful for the opportunity to rekindle his relationships with family and friends during his sabbatical year. He acknowledges that his career as a professional racing driver has been a major part of his life, but recognizes the importance of staying grounded and connected with the people who keep him rooted in reality.
Ricciardo values the perspective and support that his loved ones provide, especially given the intense and often surreal nature of the F1 lifestyle. While he does not complain about the life he has led thus far, he recognizes that it is essential to remain true to himself and the people who have been there for him throughout his journey.
Maintaining his core relationships is of great importance to Daniel Ricciardo, and he would feel quite sad if he were to lose them. Many of these people have been in his life since day one, and he values their support and friendship immensely.
As many of his friends now have children, Ricciardo has been taking the time to catch up with them and learn more about their lives. He admits that with the fast-paced nature of his career, he has not always been able to keep up with all the details of their lives.
Now, he feels fulfilled to be able to show a greater interest in their lives and give back to those who have always been there for him. By living more selflessly, Ricciardo is able to strengthen his relationships and appreciate the important people in his life.
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