Push for top F1 seat not "arrogant" insists Ricciardo

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Push for top F1 seat not "arrogant" insists Ricciardo

Formula 1

Push for top F1 seat not "arrogant" insists Ricciardo


Daniel Ricciardo says his lack of interest in returning to Formula 1 with certain teams is “not coming from an arrogant place” after rediscovering his confidence at Red Bull.

McLaren opted to drop Ricciardo one year before the end of his contract in order to sign Oscar Piastri for this season, and the 33-year-old returned to Red Bull as third driver despite race seats being available at Haas and Williams at the time. After an extended break over the winter, Ricciardo says he’s finding the motivation to return to F1 is growing but he maintains he only wants a front-running seat.

“It doesn’t scare me,” Ricciardo told Top Gear. “It’s always been like that. And I knew this was going to be a risk obviously removing myself from a seat. But I think it’s clear what I don’t want. I don’t want (just) any seat next year, as much as I think I want to be racing again. I don’t want to just start from zero, and kind of build my (F1) career from scratch.

“It’s not coming from an arrogant place. But I’m just past that. I don’t think that’s going to stimulate me or give me that second wind I’m looking for. So it makes the top seats even scarcer. But that’s where I know I will be able to perform at my best and thrive. That’s the sort of stuff I’m keeping my eyes on.”

And Ricciardo says his return to Red Bull has gone better than expected, both from a team integration point of view and the way it is helping him recover from such a tough spell at McLaren.

“Since Abu Dhabi (in 2022) I went home, and spent two months there. I then went to the USA, went to the Super Bowl. And I basically just did no race driver things for probably close to three months.

“But, the first day back at Red Bull in the simulator was the most fun I’ve ever had driving a simulator, which is crazy, especially because at this point in my career that’s normally the boring work. But Simon (Rennie) my engineer at the time at Red Bull, he’s running the sim now. So it was like we were back in the routine of 2018 and mate, I loved it. It took me a few laps to get going and once I did it all felt familiar again.

“I would honestly say in a day my confidence went from being probably pretty low to back at the levels I remember being at. It was a good day. And I think just having that time off just gave me a chance to, in a way, forget a little bit of the last two years. Just go in there with a fresh mind.”