Daniel Ricciardo has told PlanetF1.com he’s feeling “content” with his current third driver role at Red Bull, and will know more about how much he misses Formula 1 when he heads to his home race.
The Australian moved back to his former team in a reserve role after his struggles at McLaren in 2022 saw him replaced by young compatriot Oscar Piastri for the year ahead.
While he admitted that caused a feeling of “panic” at the time when he first found out the news, he opted not to take a race seat for 2023 and headed back to Red Bull for the year in a reserve capacity, with a view to finding a race seat again in 2024.
He said last year that he wouldn’t know until the cars got going again to see if it would make him start “foaming at the mouth” because he was missing out on racing in Formula 1 for the first time in over a decade.
Speaking after Red Bull launched their 2023 livery in New York City, the eight-time race winner said he has been enjoying having a more relaxed time over the winter compared to what he has been used to.
That said, when he goes back to Albert Park as Red Bull’s reserve driver for the third round of the season, he will get a truer idea of how much he misses being on the grid.
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“I feel really, really good at the moment,” Ricciardo said in response to a question from PlanetF1.com about his current mindset and whether seeing the RB19 had triggered the ‘foaming at the mouth’ he referenced.
“I’d say most drivers are probably a month in [to training] or close to it, I know I would be a month into like my boot camp training period and, knowing that I’ve had a bit more time off and all that, it kind of feels nice to have that change of pace.
“I think seeing the car and that, being here, it is really cool at the start of the season. It’s exciting. But yeah, [I’m] content with kind of just being a little bit more chilled at the moment.
“I think once the racing starts, then Melbourne will be the first race I attend. So when I’m there and really in the full atmosphere of it all, I’ll probably get a bit more of an idea.
“It’s exciting to be back around the team for sure. But yeah, not foaming yet, just kind of content doing what I’m doing.”