F1 News: Daniel Ricciardo targets Red Bull return, open to alternatives

Jaden Diaz

Daniel Ricciardo was front and centre of most F1 news and headlines last year, with McLaren pulling the trigger to replace him for fellow Australian Oscar Piastri in a hectic and unpredictable summer break.

Since then, the 33-year-old has spoken extensively about what circumstances would entice or motivate him to compete on the grid in the future.

Generally speaking, Ricciardo only mentions top teams as desirable targets for an F1 return – having declined interest from midfield outfit Haas at the end of 2022.

Considering the contractual situation at the front of the pack, there are no realistic openings for the 8-time race winner to make a comeback on his terms.

However, speaking as Red Bull reserve driver at the Canadian GP, Ricciardo re-iterated his motivation to again compete at the highest level:

“Honestly, the fairytale ending [would be] to finish my career here [at Red Bull] – if I could have it my own way,” he told ESPN.

“But we’ll see. I’ll probably have to work my way up a little bit. 

“It’s really nice to be back here… I know I can come back as a more complete version of myself.”

The Australian certainly seems interested in finding a new landing spot in F1, although it remains unclear how far down the order he is willing to venture for this goal.

After all, even upper midfield teams such as Alpine and McLaren – who may not even be desirable options for Ricciardo – can be ruled out as destinations for 2024.

Both these teams, in various capacities, rejected the 33-year-old in negotiations last season. Therefore, Ricciardo would have to entertain a seat even further down the field.

Helmut Marko has stressed that only Red Bull juniors, such as Liam Lawson or Ayumu Iwasa, will be considered for a seat at AlphaTauri.

Needless to say, unless the former race winner is willing to swallow his pride and join an outfit like Haas or Williams, he does not command enough influence in the market for an F1 return.

For now, the cost Ricciardo is willing to pay for a comeback is unclear – but a clearer image will surely emerge over the summer.

Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang