The car characteristics Daniel Ricciardo is chasing on AlphaTauri return

Thomas Maher
Daniel Ricciardo pensive with arms crossed. Britain July 2023

Red Bull reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo pensive with arms crossed. Britain July 2023

Daniel Ricciardo has outlined the handling characteristics he’s hopeful of getting when he climbs into his new AlphaTauri AT04 in Budapest.

The Australian driver returns to Formula 1 this weekend, having been signed by Red Bull as a mid-season replacement for Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri – the Dutch driver having struggled for pace and consistency during the first 10 races of the season.

Ricciardo has been out of F1 since the end of 2022, having been bought out of his McLaren contract after two years of underperformance himself, but has begun the climb back to prominence in F1 having signed up to be reserve driver for Red Bull and junior team AlphaTauri.

Daniel Ricciardo hoping for ‘relatively balanced’ F1 car

Returning to AlphaTauri, with whom Ricciardo raced under their Toro Rosso guise in 2012 and ’13 before his promotion to Red Bull, Ricciardo says he’s hopeful of getting a car he can connect with.

The AlphaTauri AT04 is arguably the slowest car on the grid this year, a far cry from the Red Bull RB19 Ricciardo impressed the bosses with during a Pirelli tyre test after Silverstone, but Ricciardo is hopeful of the car being predictable as he jumps in mid-season with no testing time.

“I think it’s really just for me to… I’m not setting anything, like the car will be what it is. I’m going to drive and then work from there,” Ricciardo told the official F1 website.

“I don’t want to get too many preconceived ideas.

“So like, yeah, I appreciate the car is gonna have its limitations. I’m sure they’re probably just lacking some overall downforce and things like this.

“But I think, if it’s a car that feels balanced – it might not have as much grip as a Red Bull I drove a few days ago – but, if it feels relatively balanced, then that’s something I can work with.

“But I’m looking forward to also developing it and using my experience but, ultimately, I think for Budapest, it’s just go out and have fun and try and use more right foot than left and have a good time!” recommends

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Daniel Ricciardo reunites with former colleagues

Stepping back into the Faenza factory to visit the team with whom he made his name a decade ago, Ricciardo said he’s spending as much time at the facility as possible before Budapest in a bid to reconnect with former colleagues, as well as get to know his new ones.

AlphaTauri shared video and pictures of Ricciardo going through a seat fit last week, having been greeted warmly at the door by team boss Franz Tost – the Austrian was Ricciardo’s team boss during his earlier tenure at Faenza.

“I did a seat fit, like a bit of a seat check earlier in the season [too]” Ricciardo said.

“There are a few familiar faces, like mechanics and stuff, but I’m going to spend a bit more time there before Budapest and just get to know the team.

“I’m sure there are very many new faces. It was a decade ago, since I raced there, 2013 was my last season.

“So going back to the start of the year and getting back into the Red Bull family, it felt like full circle. Now going back to AlphaTauri which was Toro Rosso, it’s all very full circle right now.

“But I understand that this is my journey back, like this is the process and the path and I’m ready to embrace it.”

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