In a recent interview on the Beyond The Grid podcast, 34-year-old AlphaTauri driver Daniel Ricciardo revealed that it is his ultimate dream to conclude his Formula 1 career as a member of the Red Bull Racing team.
This revelation comes in the wake of a tumultuous 2022 season for the Australian driver, during which he faced challenges at McLaren, ultimately losing his race seat to compatriot Oscar Piastri.
Following his departure from McLaren, Red Bull enlisted Ricciardo as their reserve and simulator driver, placing him in a behind-the-scenes role at the onset of the season. However, rumors began circulating that he might make a sooner-than-expected return to the racing scene, particularly with Nyck de Vries struggling at AlphaTauri.
After ten races, Ricciardo was brought back into the fold, but an unfortunate hand injury led to his temporary replacement by Liam Lawson for five Grand Prix events.
Despite the hurdles, Ricciardo’s performance earned him a full-time contract for the upcoming 2024 campaign, partnering with Yuki Tsunoda. Nevertheless, his sights are set on a grander goal – a return to Red Bull Racing, where he has previously been linked to replacing Sergio Perez during challenging periods.
When asked about his endgame by journalist Tom Clarkson, Ricciardo expressed his desire to rejoin the Red Bull family. He highlighted the significance of working with key figures like Simon Rennie and engaging in activities such as the July test. While he refrained from specifying a timeline, Ricciardo emphasized that concluding his career as a Red Bull driver would be the perfect scenario.
To realize this dream, Ricciardo acknowledges the need to excel in the upcoming 2024 season. Despite having less time in the car compared to his teammate Tsunoda, he aims to deliver top-notch performances, citing his impressive showing in Mexico City as a benchmark. With AlphaTauri set to operate under a new name in 2024 and intensifying collaboration with Red Bull, there’s an expectation that their performance on the grid will improve.
The pressure now rests on Ricciardo and Tsunoda to extract the maximum potential from the new car and potentially challenge Sergio Perez. As Perez’s contract approaches its expiration in 12 months, the prospect of Ricciardo returning to the Red Bull Racing seat may become a reality sooner rather than later.