While he will replace Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri at the next Grand Prix in Hungary, Daniel Ricciardo confided that the desire to return was growing stronger. However, he does not want to put too much pressure on himself and rediscover the pleasure of driving an F1.
It’s an announcement that surprised but not too much. Threatened for several weeks because of his lack of results, Nyck de Vries was unceremoniously dismissed by the AlphaTauri team. To replace him, the team based in Faenza obtained the loan of Daniel Ricciardo, who will return to the starting grid a few months after being replaced at McLaren by Oscar Piastri before the end of his contract. ” It feels good, it really feels good “said the Australian in an interview with the official F1 website about his return to competition.
If he draws positive from what he calls his “six months of rest”, the winner of the 2021 edition of the Italian Grand Prix confided that the desire to get back behind the wheel has become ever more insistent these last weeks. “While I was watching the races and doing simulator work, sure the virus is back, added Daniel Ricciardo. Then, a few days later, when I got in the car, I said to myself that it seemed normal to me. During the first round, I thought to myself that it was going fast then, after several loops, I wanted to go even faster. It was really nice. »
« There was no question that I was going to say yes »
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 15, 2023
“I didn’t need to think about it too much”
Everything changed on Tuesday. While at Silverstone to take part in tire tests with Red Bull Racing and Pirelli, Daniel Ricciardo was at the heart of telephone exchanges between Helmut Marko and Christian Horner. In the aftermath, the Australian received a call from the Red Bull group adviser and wanted to approach him in a relaxed manner. ” I was in the mood to just listen to what Helmut Marko had to say to me, claimed the Perth native. I think that was the best thing to do because sometimes you try to prepare for what he might ask of you. I didn’t need to think about it too much. »
Admitting his return to the Red Bull family at the start of the year was “a bit overwhelming, in a good way”, Daniel Ricciardo was in the dark when it came time to get to work for Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez. “I wasn’t sure how it was going to be, if the car would behave like I was used to, if I was going to be the old me,” he said. After completing several sessions in the simulator, I started to feel like myself again and ready to come back. »
— Scuderia AlphaTauri (@AlphaTauriF1) July 14, 2023
Ricciardo wants to “try to have fun”
But this return to AlphaTauri, the team he knew in 2012 and 2013 under the name Toro Rosso, is a huge challenge. Indeed, the AT04 is without doubt the least efficient single-seater on the grid with its new team-mate Yuki Tsunoda who brought it into the points only twice, with tenth place in Australia and then in Azerbaijan. Assuring that “the car is as it is”, Daniel Ricciardo wants to approach this experience with the desire “not to have too many preconceived ideas”. ” I’m sure it lacks downforce and things like that.he slipped during this interview. However, I think if it is balanced, I will be able to work with although it won’t have as much grip as the Red Bull Racing I rode a few days ago. »
Upon arriving in Budapest for his first Grand Prix since the end of last season, Daniel Ricciardo wants to “just go out there and try to have fun”. In the medium term, the Australian especially wants to help his team get back on track. “I know the team, getting points has been difficult for them this year, he recalls. So I will try to push this car and try to get it into the Top 10. Everyone would be delighted. A mission that promises to be perilous.