Daniel Ricciardo has publicly admitted that a return to a Red Bull seat would be the “fairytale ending” to his Formula 1 career.
It’s the first time since his return to the team as third driver that he has acknowledged in public that a return to race alongside Max Verstappen would be his goal, having spent 2023 on the sidelines so far after being dropped by McLaren.
Ricciardo, who won seven races for Red Bull before leaving the team for Renault at the end of 2018, was quickly snapped up by Christian Horner to act as reserve to Verstappen and Sergio Perez this year after he and McLaren ended their association a year earlier than scheduled, after two overall underwhelming seasons alongside Lando Norris.
Such is his desire to return to a senior Red Bull seat, a report from ESPN claims he would even take on a drive with AlphaTauri, formerly Toro Rosso, next season for the first time since 2013 in order to get himself back on the Formula 1 grid and remind senior bosses of his talents and potentially stake a claim for a Red Bull return from 2025.
And when discussing his future plans, the popular Australian admitted coming back to the grid with Red Bull is on his mind.
“This for me would be like the fairytale,” Ricciardo told ESPN when asked about getting back in a Red Bull seat in the future.
“Honestly, the fairytale ending [would be] to finish my career here if I could have it all my own way, but we’ll see.
“I’ll probably have to work my way up a little bit but it’s really nice to be back here.”
Change of tone from Daniel Ricciardo proof he wants to get back out there
By Henry Valantine
Having had the chance to ask Ricciardo about his state of mind ahead of Red Bull’s car launch, he spoke like a man who meant it when he said he was “content with kind of just being a little bit more chilled at the moment” back in February.
But, he added, “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.”
And having been at a few races as Red Bull’s reserve, it’s clear that the hunger he once had for racing has seemingly returned.
He’s spoken about actively enjoying being in the simulator, usually one of the more tedious elements of being a Formula 1 driver, and telling media recently that he has “flushed out” the previous two seasons from his system, in the surest sign yet that he is ready to go again.
With Perez already under contract for next year, his only likely chance within the Red Bull stable would be with AlphaTauri, but even still – this is a sign of Ricciardo putting himself back in the shop window again.