Ricciardo's eyes on the horizon, not on Red Bull's 2025 seat


Daniel Ricciardo says his priority this season is to put his head down and perform with VCARB, putting the allure of a potential seat at Red Bull Racing in 2024 on hold.

Sergio Perez's current contract with RBR expires at the end of this year, making his highly sought-after seat a key piece of the driver market puzzle.

While Red Bull could target a driver from another team, the spotlight is firmly on Ricciardo and his VCARB teammate Yuki Tsunoda as the most obvious candidates for the Mexican’s seat, assuming Perez isn’t retained by the Milton Keynes-based outfit.

Ricciardo believes that his friendly rivalry with Tsunoda will push them both to excel this season, but Aussie insists that is main focus remains entirely on the 2024 season, not on a potential return to Red Bull.

"I think it's good to have that as a goal for both of us, it's natural," Ricciardo said ahead of this weekend’s opening round of racing in Bahrain.

"It's nice for it to be somewhere towards the back of our head. But I think on a positive, that will bring out the best competitors in us and hopefully drive each other a little bit further.

"But am I lining up on the grid, thinking about 'Oh, if I have a good race, I'm going to be in that seat'? No. It's there as a goal. But it's not there as my focus."

Ricciardo’s surprisingly pragmatic approach to his future is a by-product of his recent past in F1.

The 34-year-old's story is one of rediscovery. Facing burnout and disillusionment towards the end of his stint with McLaren in 2022, he left F1 under a cloud of uncertainty.

However, the time away proved to be a silver lining of sorts. It reignited his passion for racing, but with a crucial difference. The fire that burned within him was now tempered with a newfound perspective.


While goals remain, they are now interwoven with the simple pleasure of competing at the highest level once more.

“Just having that little bit of perspective with sitting out and kind of losing a seat has given me that, so you're not getting too far ahead, don't get too caught up in anything,” he explained.

“I think also with that perspective, or mindset, I'll be able to put everything into it this given day, and in this given time, and not get distracted.

“Coming back last year, I felt good,” he added. “In terms of my driving, I was in a good place, but again, I don't want to ignore that few percent that maybe I have right now.

“Even just having the winter break, just being able to reflect on it and then coming into the season now with some new ideas. Every little bit helps.

“Yuki and I will be pushing the car hard whatever happens this weekend. There'll be no excuses.”

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