Daniel Ricciardo opens up on F1 future as Sergio Perez to be sacked

Daniel Ricciardo isn’t concerned about his lack of opportunities next year on the F1 grid, focusing on improving during his time on the sidelines.

Red Bull reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo has stated that being on the sidelines next season is not his preferred plan, but he will not panic if a full-time Formula 1 drive doesn’t materialise.

The 34-year-old Australian is currently embedded with the Red Bull team at each race, conducting development work in the simulator.

Ricciardo will have the opportunity to experience Red Bull’s dominant RB19 car at Silverstone next week, as he has been assigned to a tyre test with the team. 

This test will allow the eight-time Grand Prix winner to showcase his skills on the racetrack.

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The uncertain future surrounding Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri could potentially create an opening for Ricciardo. 

However, Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko has indicated that the company has a selection of junior drivers to choose from if de Vries loses his drive.

Despite the options available, Ricciardo remains open-minded about a potential return to the grid with AlphaTauri. 

He shared his perspective, stating, “If it’s like ‘This is you and you are signing a three-year deal and that’s the only place you are going to be,’ then no, that’s maybe not the deal I would look for. 

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“But if there’s the possibility to obviously be here [at Red Bull], the truth is this is where I want to be. 

“I’m not going to weave my way around it. I’m remaining open-minded.”

Expressing his desire to be back on the grid next year, Ricciardo acknowledged that if things don’t go as planned and he remains sidelined, it won’t be his first choice, but he won’t panic either. 

He remarked, “If things don’t turn out the way I’d like and I’m on the sidelines again next year… it’s not my Plan A, but I wouldn’t freak out.”

Ricciardo drew inspiration from Nico Hulkenberg’s return to active duty with Haas after a three-year hiatus. 

Despite limited opportunities in recent years, Hulkenberg has performed admirably. Ricciardo reflected on Hulkenberg’s success, saying, “I look at Hulkenberg, who’s been on the sidelines a few years – obviously done the odd race here and there – but he’s been pretty awesome this year. 

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“So I’m not concerned that I’ll ‘lose it’.”

Acknowledging the reality of aging in the sport, Ricciardo emphasised his desire to make the most of his career. 

He expressed his intention not to miss out on too much, as he doesn’t want to follow in the footsteps of Fernando Alonso, who continues to race in his forties.