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Ricciardo Didn't Push to Oust De Vries Last Year

Ricciardo Didn’t Push to Oust De Vries Last Year

04/04/2024

Exploring whether Daniel Ricciardo influenced Red Bull’s decision in 2023, displacing Nyck de Vries for his own AlphaTauri comeback.

The Australian would have had a vested interest last year in suggesting to Helmut Marko or Christian Horner that they should dispense with Nyck de Vries’ services due to insufficient performances… and that’s indeed what happened, enabling Ricciardo to make his return as a principal driver.

However, the Honey Badger – now finding himself in de Vries’ position, namely under pressure – denies acting behind the Dutchman’s back.

“I didn’t pressure Red Bull. I never said they should replace Nyck with me. I thought, if it’s meant to be, it will be.”

“I told myself: I’ll keep preparing in the simulator and do everything necessary to show I’m back on form. If they call me, I’ll be ready. If they don’t, I’ll use this time to work.”

“I was called earlier than expected. It was surprising, but one does not turn down such an opportunity.”

Ironically, Daniel Ricciardo now finds himself in Nyck de Vries’ position. He too could be ousted mid-season, to be replaced by Liam Lawson.

How does Daniel Ricciardo explain his current struggles, and more importantly, how does he plan to recover? He hasn’t seemed this defeated since his last season at McLaren…

“It’s not the same situation as at McLaren. So, I think it’s crucial that I keep working with my engineers and that we don’t start taking too many suggestions or advice from outside.”

“Of course, I would have liked better results in the first races; I’m not satisfied with them. But it’s important to stay the course, ultimately, and not get distracted.”

“To be honest, I’ve been struggling with high-speed corners in Melbourne and Saudi Arabia. This was the case with turns 9 and 10 in Melbourne, where I was a bit off pace compared to Yuki.”

“I think we’re probably going to focus our settings a bit on these areas to give me confidence. And then I think for low and medium speeds, we’re pretty much on point.”

Is he not more under pressure than ever?

“Yes, I feel the pressure. But my response is that the pressure comes from myself, more than ever. Not from the outside.”

“But I approached this season with a full pre-season of preparation, I had a great winter, trained like crazy, and I’m feeling really good.”

“So yes, that’s where I tell myself, ‘okay, I’m not there yet.’ And it’s been three races.”

“But I know I don’t need to change anything; it will come. It’s just a little bit here and there. Everything that’s missing right now will fall into place, and I think there’s just one weekend left before that happens.”

“Even in Melbourne, I was disappointed on paper for not scoring points. But when you analyze the race, you realize it wasn’t as bad as it looked.”

“We had a good race pace. And I think there are good things we are taking, we just need to put them together now. And that’s what I’m going to do.”

“Since Saudi Arabia, we’ve changed some things and for China, we’ll probably change some more. We’re obviously trying to make sure everything is good and there are no faults. And it’s just for our peace of mind because we’ve explored quite a bit.”

“I was right on the pace in Budapest and this year, I feel a bit behind at the moment, with better preparation and more experience with the car and the team.”

“That’s why we’re making sure we’re not missing something that’s out of our control right now.”

No regrets about leaving Milton Keynes?

Daniel Ricciardo’s trajectory has been on the decline since the end of 2018 when he decided to leave Red Bull for Renault.

Doesn’t he deeply regret this choice, especially when looking at Max Verstappen’s trajectory?

“No, because living with regrets is not a good life.”

“I see it as a lesson learned. Would I like to know what I could have achieved at Red Bull if I had stayed? Of course. But now I have a second chance.”

“I want to win races again and feel the sensation of the top step of the podium again. I returned to Formula 1 because I believe I can still do it.”

Ricciardo Didn't Push to Oust De Vries Last Year

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