Ricciardo: ‘Time to fight at the front of the midfield’


Daniel Ricciardo believes Visa Cash App RB have “a point to prove” this season, stating that top-five finishes should be the target for the rebranded Faenza-based squad this season.

Red Bull’s sister outfit unveiled its VCARB 01 contender – sporting a sleek blue and white livery – at a glitzy launch in Las Vegas on Thursday night

VCARB’s ambition is fueled by the team's significant off-season overhaul.

Laurent Mekies, formerly sporting director at Ferrari, takes the helm as Team Principal, bringing a wealth of experience and strategic acumen.

He's joined by Tim Goss as Chief Technical Officer and Alan Permane as Racing Director, further bolstering VCARB's leadership and technical prowess.

Furthermore, the team’s relocation of its UK base from Bicester to Milton Keynes, where sister team Red Bull resides, signifies a deeper collaboration and potential knowledge sharing between the two entities, potentially offering VCARB access to Red Bull's championship-winning expertise.

While the 2024 season remains unpredictable, Ricciardo's optimism and the team's comprehensive changes paint a picture of a squad poised for a significant leap forward

“There are a lot of new personnel, some big partners coming onboard,” Ricciardo told Formula 1’s official website.

“The team has always taken itself seriously, but I feel like this is another step up. It’s no longer just a platform for Red Bull Racing, it’s a time for us to fight at the front of the midfield.

“I like what’s happened, the changes that have taken place. There’s something about the team, the mindset is a bit different, kind of like a point to prove. It’s cool. It’s fun.”

The team will also have a closer relationship with reigning world champions Red Bull, taking the front and rear suspension and gearbox from them, as they formulate ambitions of moving up the grid.

“You have to aim high, but being in this sport so long, you want to remain realistic as you don’t want to end up ultimately disappointed,” Ricciardo said when asked what is possible this season.

“Top-fives should be a target and if we get into that position, maybe some podiums present themselves. Of course we want to win but, you know, let’s…I think we made steps last year, let’s make a few more steps.

“Do I think top-five results are on the table – and could they be on the table in the first half of the season? I’d like to think so.”

After his return to the grid last summer with AlphaTauri, unfortunately shortened by his mishap in practice at the Dutch Grand Prix, Ricciardo is revitalized and ready to roar following a complete pre-season, part of which was spent at home in Australia.

“Feeling good,” said the eight-time Grand Prix winner. “I didn’t need as much of an off season as everyone else, with a short 2023. It was still nice to go home, but I didn’t need to let my hair down so much.

“It’s like a pre-season now, I had all that, I had the preparation, I had a bit of a headstart last year – so I know the team well.

“Come Bahrain, there’s nothing left on the table. I can’t predict where we’ll finish there, but from a preparation point of view, there’s no more questions.

“Personally, the off-season didn’t feel like I was just on the couch,” he added. “I mentally stayed in it so getting back in the car won’t feel like I haven’t driven for a few months – so I expect to get back into the swing straight away.

“I would say the way we developed the car through the tail end of last season, and we definitely found some things which at first definitely worked for me, and then I think Yuki [Tsunoda] found the strengths in it with his driving style, having a good Abu Dhabi.

“There is a lot to stay pretty upbeat about coming into the start of the year.”

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