Daniel Ricciardo breaks silence on Max Verstappen threat

Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen were teammates at Red Bull until 2018, when the Australian walked away.

Formula 1 has been striving to increase the number of races on its calendar, with as many as 24 Grands Prix scheduled for next year. 

However, this expansion has drawn criticism from drivers, including Max Verstappen, who believes that the calendar is becoming too packed. 

Daniel Ricciardo finds Verstappen’s perspective on the lengthy F1 schedule “interesting”.

In 2022, a total of 22 races were scheduled. This season, in 2023, the calendar was expanded to 23 races. 

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However, due to the cancellation of the Imola Grand Prix, the number of races will remain at 22, matching last year’s count. 

Nevertheless, F1 plans to add two more races for the upcoming season. F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali had even hinted in early 2022 that the calendar could potentially accommodate up to 30 races, although that number has not been reached yet.

Verstappen has been vocal about his concerns regarding the continuously expanding Formula 1 calendar, expressing predominantly negative sentiments. 

Former teammate Ricciardo empathises with Verstappen’s viewpoint, though he finds it peculiar that it is Verstappen specifically who is raising these concerns.

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“It’s tough because we like the mental challenges of competition. But you can’t just keep getting the s*** kicked out of you week in and week out at some point,” Ricciardo said.

Reflecting on Verstappen’s comments, he added, “Hearing it from Max is interesting because this is someone in their prime at the top of the sport, if [even] he’s still saying I am tired or burnt out. 

“Ultimately, we got into racing because we love it and we enjoy it, and when the schedule takes away the pure enjoyment, that’s a risk.”

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Ricciardo’s remarks shed light on the toll that the demanding F1 calendar can take on drivers, both physically and mentally. 

The constant grind of race weekends and the limited time for rest and recuperation can affect the overall enjoyment of the sport. 

As top drivers strive for success, the challenges and pressures can accumulate, leading to a potential loss of the pure joy that initially drew them to racing.