‘Signs’: Daniel Ricciardo hints at Formula 1 return

Daniel Ricciardo is taking a year away from racing in Formula 1 after McLaren ended his contract early.

As the Australian Grand Prix kicks off on Sunday, a familiar face will be absent from the grid, as Daniel Ricciardo doesn’t line up with his fellow drivers for the first time since 2012.

Having been dropped by McLaren in a shake-up at the team, Ricciardo failed to find a seat on the grid, settling for a third driver role at his old team Red Bull, while he assesses his future.

Returning to the Formula 1 paddock for the first time since he left McLaren at the end of 2022, Ricciardo appeared at the Albert Park Circuit on Thursday for media duties with Red Bull.

The Australia raced from the circuit to an event with surfer Nick Fanning to launch a partnership between the Formula 1 team and Yeti.

READ: Daniel Ricciardo gets back behind the wheel of a Red Bull

Despite his untimely departure from McLaren, Ricciardo isn’t shy about his ambition to secure a race seat in 2024, revealing his preparation ahead of a possible return.

“I’ve actually weirdly found the days that I’ve had no schedule, they’re the days that I’ve actually done training,” Ricciardo told reporters.

“It’s not being my own boss but kind of writing my own schedule has actually brought out a lot of things in me.”

“I thought I’ll just sit on the couch and watch movies all day and eat junk food, but I’m not. That’s not me.

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“So even these things made me realise how much I do care about [Formula 1].

“The signs are pointing towards getting back on the grid,” he teased.

“I feel like that’s currently where I’m tracking, at least in my head and just a little few other habits that I’m having or doing is pointed towards that.”

READ: Daniel Ricciardo reminds F1 world ‘I’m still here’ as he comments on 2024 comeback

Watching from the side-lines at Albert Park, Ricciardo is keen to continue learning from the outside in a bid to understand more about him and his perspective as a driver moving forward.

“I’m going to sit on the pit wall during the sessions and I’m sure I’ll be like watching the drivers pull out of the pits and be like ‘oh, it would be cool to be in the car’.

“But I’m not yet foaming at the mouth. I’m still just trying to be a sponge.”