Daniel Ricciardo bumped into by fan as Red Bull switch questioned

Daniel Ricciardo is targeting a return to racing in Formula 1 next year, with the driver having been keen to take some time away from the sport in 2023.

Daniel Ricciardo is seemingly enjoying his first winter break since announcing he won’t be on the grid in 2023, with the Australian driver having been bumped into by a fan.

A user on Reddit revealed that his friend just so happened to bump into the fan favourite, who kindly signed a bottle of beer.

The image posted to Reddit clearly shows the 33-year-old seeming happy, whilst posing for a photo with the bottle he kindly signed.

Ricciardo is, of course, preparing to be a Red Bull development driver for the upcoming season, with the eight-time Grand Prix winner also set to be the team’s official reserve driver when Red Bull Junior driver Liam Lawson is tied-up with competing in Super Formula in Japan.

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Nobody really knows what the year holds for Ricciardo, with the driver himself having revealed that he won’t be attending many races this season.

It’s expected that he’ll carry out simulator work and testing in his development driver role, which is also set to include a lot of marketing-based projects in America.

With that in mind, Sky Sports F1 commentator David Croft has asked an excellent question about Red Bull, “how do they evaluate” the Aussie this season?

Some have questioned why Ricciardo has been brought back, especially given the fact that he isn’t the future of the team given his age.

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Croft has revealed that he reckons the Austrians should be trying to “identify someone else” to replace Sergio Pérez should the Mexican be dropped by Red Bull, especially with Max Verstappen’s future past 2028 looking uncertain.

“I think that [Perez and Ricciardo] are two very different styles of driver,” said Croft.

“They’re both capable of winning races but, to me, they win races in very different ways. I hate to say this, I think Daniel is a terrific bloke, but he is not the future for Red Bull – not by any stretch of the imagination, mainly because of age.

“When Max spoke at the end of the season and talked about potentially stopping at the age of 31, that’s a big revelation to me. He’s already thinking about the time he stops racing. If he’s thinking that, then Red Bull should be thinking it too. Personally, I’d be trying to identify somebody else to come in in 2024 if Checo is not the answer.”

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Croft went on to discuss how Red Bull might “evaluate” the Aussie, who has expressed his intent on returning to the grid next year.

“How do they evaluate Daniel? That’s what I’m interested to see,” the Sky pundit said.

“They can put him in the sim, but it’s not the same as driving the real car. So will they give him a go in a test somewhere? That’s what I’d like to see… how do they genuinely evaluate the Daniel Ricciardo of today?”