Daniel Ricciardo reveals when he’ll retire from Formula 1

Daniel Ricciardo has opened up on his timeline in Formula 1, as he prepares to return to the driving seat with AlphaTauri.

After a stint on the Formula 1 sidelines, Daniel Ricciardo has found solace in the possibility of retirement, although he has no intentions of hanging up his helmet anytime soon.

Following the loss of his McLaren seat at the end of the previous season, Ricciardo returned to Red Bull as a third driver in 2023, playing a supporting role to Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez. 

However, the 34-year-old Australian is now set to make a sensational return to the F1 grid by replacing Nyck de Vries at Red Bull’s sister team, AlphaTauri, with immediate effect.

In an exclusive interview with Crash.net four days prior to the announcement, Ricciardo revealed that he would readily accept a drive with AlphaTauri if it facilitated a full-time return to Red Bull. 

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When asked if he envisions himself retiring as an F1 world champion in five years, Ricciardo chuckled and responded, “Oh shit yeah, that would be cool!”

The Australian driver went on to provide intriguing insights into his perspective on retirement, drawing parallels to Nico Rosberg’s decision to quit F1 days after clinching his maiden world title in 2016. 

Ricciardo contemplated the delicate balance of timing and going out on top, citing examples from other sports where athletes sometimes linger past their prime. He expressed admiration for Rosberg’s choice, while also feeling that it may have been a year too early.

Reflecting on his own potential retirement, Ricciardo stated, “If I was to win a world title next year, no, I wouldn’t retire. 

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“But if I was to win one in five years, maybe then I’d be like, ‘that’s a great way to sign off’.”

This dilemma of retirement also looms over Lewis Hamilton, who missed out on an eighth world title in a controversial manner at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. 

Since the introduction of new technical regulations in 2022, Mercedes has struggled to match the pace of Red Bull, preventing Hamilton from adding to his remarkable records in pole positions and race wins. 

Remarkably, his last victory came at the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Despite these challenges, the seven-time world champion is expected to extend his contract, aiming to surpass Michael Schumacher’s record before bidding farewell to F1. 

Ricciardo, when asked about Hamilton’s situation, commented on the fear of retirement that many athletes face after experiencing the euphoria of competition for an extended period. 

While understanding this fear, he emphasised the importance of not letting it be the sole reason to delay retirement.

Ricciardo stated, “When you’ve lived on this awesome, euphoric level for so long, the thought of losing that is maybe scary. 

“And I understand that. As long as that’s not the thing stopping you from retiring, then you are okay. 

“If you are kind of hanging onto the sport because you are scared of what happens next, then maybe it’s getting a bit long.”

Drawing from his own experience, Ricciardo expressed a newfound comfort about the day he officially retires. 

He highlighted the importance for young drivers to develop interests and hobbies beyond racing, ensuring a smoother transition into life after F1.

“This year, I feel a lot more comfortable about the day I do officially retire,” he added.

“I’m not scared about retirement.”

“I’ve had a really fun year, I’ve done things. 

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“Life after racing is totally good, and I’ve got other hobbies and interests. 

“I don’t think that’s a daunting thought for me. 

“But it’s important, especially for young kids coming up, to have something or create something beyond racing, so you don’t feel like a fish out of water. 

“Life advice!”