Daniel Ricciardo: ‘I’m not foaming at the mouth’

Daniel Ricciardo has opted for a year out of racing in 2023, but has returned to Red Bull as a development driver to remain in the paddock.

Fan favourite Daniel Ricciardo has revealed that he’d like to “have a crack” in Red Bull’s newest Formula 1 car, but that he is still happy to not be racing in 2023, as he settles into his new role as a development driver.

Ricciardo was present at the team’s launch in New York last Friday, where the 33-year-old was as smiley and bubbly as ever, giving off the impression that he feels absolutely no pressure at the moment.

His traditional smile had begun to disappear towards the end of last season, as he pondered over what to do following the termination of his 2023 McLaren contract.

After coming to the realisation that a year-off was needed, the Australian decided that Red Bull was the ideal place to serve his sabbatical, given that they are his Formula 1 ‘family’.

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Despite being happy about what 2023 holds for him as Red Bull’s development driver, though, the Aussie is still set on returning in 2024, meaning that he needs to “stay race fit”.

“I am definitely keen to have a crack [in the car], just to stay race fit, so the body doesn’t go into complete shock when it hits 5Gs, but also, if there was a test tomorrow, I’m still good,” said Ricciardo, during a media session at Red Bull’s launch of the RB19.

“[But I’m] still happy to have some time off. As the year progresses then I’m sure I’ll put my hands up. But [I’m] not foaming at the mouth, [I’m] still happy to ease [into] 2023.

“Being here at the launch does excite me and it is kind of a cool feeling but I’m also really happy to be taking the year I am taking. At least currently where I am sat, it does feel right.”

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Whilst he will attend a dozen or so races in the forthcoming season, there are currently no plans for Ricciardo to complete any practice sessions, with his work for 2023 to be primarily based on the simulator.

Ricciardo will also be used for demonstration runs and marketing campaigns, given that he is one of the most-loved drivers in the sport.

“From a driving point of view, simulator will be the main thing that I do [this year],” he said.

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“There are some events, so I’ll do some show runs throughout the year. [It’s] not confirmed, so I’m not sure if it will happen but I know there are some tyre tests.

“I will say that if I am to drive this year’s car, [tyre tests are] probably more likely than FP1s. So, potentially some tyre tests, there are maybe a couple in the middle of the year. That’s something that could be there but mainly the sim work is the driving stuff for now.”

His Red Bull reunion will perhaps go on to result in some comical off-circuit moments, with a clip of the Aussie doing karaoke with Max Verstappen, Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley having resurfaced.