‘We might be seeing the last of Daniel Ricciardo in 2024’, warns ex-McLaren figure

Thomas Maher
Daniel Ricciardo, RB, 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Daniel Ricciardo's F1 future may not go beyond the end of 2024 if improvements aren't made.

Former F1 mechanic turned broadcaster Marc Priestley reckons Daniel Ricciardo’s F1 career is running down the clock.

The Australian secured a full-time return to Formula 1 in 2024 with Red Bull giving him a seat at the RB team, but has shown familiar performance levels to when he was dropped by the McLaren squad in 2022.

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Having been dropped by McLaren ahead of the final year of his three-year deal, Ricciardo spent most of 2023 watching the sport from the sidelines and taking a breather from the relentless nature of being an F1 driver.

Carrying out reserve driver duties for Red Bull’s two teams, Ricciardo was given the chance to carry out a Pirelli tyre test at Silverstone with the Red Bull RB19 and his pace was enough to cause Red Bull to drop the underperforming Nyck de Vries from AlphaTauri and give the seat to Ricciardo.

However, the Australian only had a handful of races between then and the end of the season as he picked up a hand injury in a crash at Zandvoort – sidelining him for five rounds.

As a result, it’s taken until this year for Ricciardo to get a proper run at things, having been given a full-time racing seat with RB (formerly AlphaTauri) and taking part in the full pre-season preparations.

But the first two races have suggested not a whole lot has changed for Ricciardo, who has struggled to keep pace with Yuki Tsunoda. Differing strategies brought Ricciardo into Tsunoda’s range in Bahrain but, without team orders, would likely have finished behind the Japanese driver.

In Saudi Arabia, Ricciardo toiled around at the back – a very slow pit stop not helping matters – before spinning all by himself at Turn 1 in the final stages of the race.

As a result, the pressure is already starting to mount on the popular Australian as he heads to his home race in Melbourne – has he still got the talents that made him such a feared rival a few years ago?

Former McLaren mechanic turned multi-faceted media personality Marc Priestley believes Ricciardo’s time is running out, and that 2024 could be the last-chance saloon for him.

“Daniel Ricciardo, at the other end of his career, he’s getting a hurry up from Helmut Marko,” Priestley said on his own YouTube channel ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.

“He’s getting the world starting to talk about him in terms of questioning him.

“Is he really what everyone thought he was? Is it the excitement we thought it was going to be when he came back into the sport?

“Actually, he’s not beating his teammate consistently enough and that is the very first step to becoming a legendary driver in Formula 1 – you have to beat your teammate.

“He’s not doing that enough and I think, with young drivers poking their heads up and saying, ‘Look at me’, Daniel Ricciardo has got time running out on his Formula 1 career.

“It’s a shame because I think he’s a great guy, a great character in the sport and has been a great driver, but he seems to have made some poor decisions that have cost him dearly over the course of the last few years.

“And I wonder if we might be seeing the last of him in 2024.”

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Alan Jones: We can’t blame the car all the time

Priestley’s opinion echoes that of Australian F1 World Champion of 1980 Alan Jones, who said Ricciardo is merely “treading water”.

“I think [Ricciardo] would even agree with that,” Jones told the Herald Sun in regards to Ricciardo needing to improve.

“Bad luck, or otherwise, I’m sure Daniel would like to have had better results than what he has had.

“At the end of the day, we can’t be blaming the car all the time, which has been a bit of a tendency in the past.

“I would love to see Daniel go extremely well in Melbourne, I would like to see Daniel go extremely well period.

“But I just think that his luck is going to have to change or he is going to have to lift his game if he has got any chance of getting back in that Red Bull team or getting back into a more competitive car.

“He is treading water. He really needs to have some very good results and put up a good show, he can’t be dwelling down where he is.

“I hate to say it, but I think we have seen the best days [from Ricciardo]. He has had his bum in a few decent cars, irrespective of what people say.

“The Alpine or the McLaren, the car that he is in right now… at the end of the day he has got to start beating his team-mate for a start.

“I would love him to become super competitive and be up there challenging in the points, but I just think that maybe a couple of things have got to change before we see that.”

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