Ricciardo F1 return ‘not at all costs’
By Mat Coch
Sunday 16th April, 2023 - 6:00am
While Daniel Ricciardo is leaning towards making an F1 return next season, he is not interested in doing so at any cost.
The eight-time race winner opted to take a year out of competition in 2023 rather than signing on with a team down the order.
It’s a stance he maintains despite admitting he’s leaning towards attempting to return to the F1 grid next year.
“I still am at a point where it’s not at any cost, it’s not just to be back on the grid,” he said when asked by Speedcafe what boxes needed to be ticked to convince him to return.
“So a lot of the reasons of taking this year off, one of the things I said, I was like, I just didn’t want to jump back into a car, any car just to be one of the F1 drivers.
“And I still feel that. I don’t see myself kind of starting from scratch and rebuilding a career from ground zero and going at it for another decade.
“I appreciate, again, I might not have every opportunity under the sun, but I want to win.
“I want to be back with a with a top team and a team where I obviously have my confidence back, and my mojo.
“Maybe that’s a weakness of mine, but in a way a strength, is [I] better at the front of the grid and I feel like I perform best in those situations with a bit more pressure and a bit more emphasis on a win or a podium.
“So to go back, to maybe try to put myself in any seat, maybe something that’s fighting at best for a top 10, I don’t think that’s going to bring the best out of me.
“[I] see myself, or at least in my head, wanting to back on the grid but there’s still some terms and conditions, so to speak. It’s not at all costs.”
What options Ricciardo has available for an F1 return are unclear.
As previously analysed, Red Bull looks to have no openings for 2024, nor does Ferrari.
Mercedes is believed to have a deal with George Russell for at least 2024 while Lewis Hamilton is expected to renew – probably his final F1 contract.
Beyond the leading three teams is Aston Martin, though it has Fernando Alonso working wonders and Lance Stroll has put in a solid performance thus far.
That accounts for the top four teams, those which Ricciardo, by his own words, would be interested in.
A return therefore appears to hang on his willingness to take on a project of some sort, with Sauber (which becomes Audi for 2026) the most obvious candidate.