Daniel Ricciardo is fine to be out of F1 this year as lays down his plans for 2023, with Australia being his first race where he will be in the paddock.
Ricciardo is now fully installed back at what some might suggest is his spiritual home, returning to Red Bull Racing as its third driver. A role which he is happy and at ease with after some struggles in the last couple of years.
His two seasons driving for McLaren were tough and challenging, despite winning at Monza in 2021 and due to poor performances, he was dropped by the team 12 months early. As a result, he is now back at Red Bull, who he left in 2018 for Renault.
He had a good time at Red Bull which has been well documented where he took seven wins which included a very popular win at Monaco. Fast forward as a third driver, Ricciardo will have to wait for his opportunity to drive the car. He is content with being away from grid action for now while outlining his plans and activity for 2023.
“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. “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.” One of the most popular drivers of his generation, but it will seem strange at first without seeing him lining up as part of the field for the first time in 12 seasons. At the same time he is part of the team as third driver and is happy with his lot.
“Being at the Red Bull launch did excite me and it was kind of a cool feeling but I’m also really happy to be taking the year I am taking,” continued Ricciardo. “At least currently where I am sat, it does feel right. From a driving point of view, simulator will be the main thing that I do [this year].
“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,” summed up Ricciardo. The Honeybadger, however, did say that being away from the action for race one in Bahrain and his home Grand Prix could be the times when he most misses being part of the F1 grid.
“I think I’ll be watching the first race from likely a television, so I think that will start to warm up a few feelings – and then I’ll be in Melbourne,” said Ricciardo. “That will be the first race I attend. Just being around the whole atmosphere, the noise, the sound, the smell, all of it, that will probably do what it does.
“And whether I’m like stoked and excited and wanting to get back, or whether I’m just happy to be a fan for a bit longer, we will see. But, I think Melbourne will probably tell me quite a lot,” summed up Ricciardo.
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