Daniel Ricciardo says he is unfazed by a lack of Formula 1 seats for 2024 as the Red Bull reserve aims to return to the motorsport next season.
Ricciardo is sitting on the sidelines this season having parted ways with McLaren at the end of 2022. The Australian, who took seven career wins with Red Bull, returned to the team for 2023 as a reserve driver and has recently been backed to return to form by Team Principal Christian Horner.
In an interview with Top Gear, Ricciardo was asked whether a lack of open seats in 2024 scared him. He replied: “It doesn’t scare me. It’s always been like that. And I knew this was going to be a risk obviously removing myself from a seat. But I think it’s clear what I don’t want. I don’t want [just] any seat next year… I don’t want to just start from zero, and kind of build my [F1] career from scratch.
“It’s not coming from an arrogant place. But I’m just past that. I don’t think that’s going to stimulate me or give me that second wind I’m looking for. So it makes the top seats even scarcer. But that’s where I know I will be able to perform at my best and thrive.”
The Australian driver added that he “loved” returning to the Red Bull simulator this season, given his familiarity with the facility and rapport with former race engineer Simon Rennie.
“The first day back at Red Bull in the simulator was the most fun I’ve ever had driving a simulator, which is crazy, especially because at this point in my career that’s normally the boring work.
“But Simon [Rennie], my engineer at the time at Red Bull, he’s running the sim now. So it was like we were back in the routine of 2018 and mate, I loved it. It took me a few laps to get going and, once I did, it all felt familiar again. I would honestly say in a day my confidence went from being probably pretty low to back at the levels I remember being at,” added Ricciardo.
Red Bull currently lead the 2023 standings having won the opening three races of the season – with Aston Martin 65 points behind them.