Ricciardo hits back at rumours of F1 career end

Tue, 19 March 2024, 08:00

Mar.19 (GMM) Daniel Ricciardo tried to put a swift end to speculation his days in Formula 1 are coming to an end.

Fellow Australian Alan Jones, the 1980 world champion, said this week that the sport has seen 34-year-old Ricciardo’s “best days”, and he now needs to prove himself once again in order to keep his seat for 2025.

When asked if he has something to prove, Ricciardo told a reporter for 10 News First as he picked up his luggage at the Melbourne airport: “Not at all. Seeya.”

The RB driver, whose flailing career was rescued by the Red Bull camp last year after his McLaren ousting, then turned on his heels and walked away.

Before that, Ricciardo defended his admittedly “slow start” to the 2024 season.

“It’s been a steady, I’d say slow start to the year,” he said. “But it’s only been two races. Hopefully the season starts now on the right foot in Melbourne.”

Elsewhere, he told the local Age newspaper that amid perceptions he is a smiley personality first and serious driver second, he had adopted a new approach since his 2023 comeback.

“I wanted to get that feeling back again, to bring out the old me,” said Ricciardo. “Racing and training are my priorities right now and all of the other stuff is secondary.”

Interestingly, as the local media and even his hopeful successor Liam Lawson put pressure on Ricciardo this week, RB team boss Laurent Mekies sounds happy with Ricciardo.

“In the first couple of days of running with him you can see the race-winning guy,” he told the Beyond The Grid podcast, “so I guess the Daniel we have now is the best Daniel we have seen.

“Of course, he has had a rough patch in the last few years but, ironically, it’s probably putting him now in the best mindset, in the best spirit, with the best energy,” Mekies added.

Mekies also says RB, formerly Alpha Tauri, needed an experienced driver like Ricciardo in the cockpit. Ricciardo’s teammate is Yuki Tsunoda, who is also hoping to impress Red Bull for a promotion to the senior team for 2025.

The 23-year-old, Honda-backed Japanese is also linked with a potential move to Aston Martin.

“What we are looking for from Yuki is that he does that next step,” Mekies said. “The top guys, they make steps.”

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