Daniel Ricciardo points to clear F1 evidence as mid-season axing rumours continue to swirl

Michelle Foster
RB's Daniel Ricciardo talks to media at the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix.

RB's Daniel Ricciardo.

As rumours continue to suggest his days at RB could be numbered, a defiant Daniel Ricciardo says he has nothing to “prove” as his track record speaks for itself.

An eight-time Grand Prix winner, seven of those victories coming in Red Bull colours, Ricciardo is back on the grid this season with Red Bull’s junior team, RB, but it has by no means been the start to his first full campaign since his McLaren drives that he had wanted.

Daniel Ricciardo: ‘There is some proof there that I can do it’

Out-qualified by Yuki Tsunoda in the first four Grand Prix weekends, Ricciardo pulled one back in China and was racing inside the top ten when Lance Stroll rear-ended him as the drivers lined up for a Safety Car restart.

Such was the damage Ricciardo wasn’t able to continue and retired his VCARB01, leaving him still on the list of drivers without a point on the board. He, though, isn’t worried.

“I haven’t,” he said as per Speedcafe when asked if he’d sought assurances from Red Bull in light of the continued rumours. “I’m obviously around the team every day. I would hear it from them, you know what I mean?

“I know that we’re not where we want to be but I think everything we keep going back to each other is like we’re still in this, we’re on the patch, we know what we’re doing.

“I haven’t had a great start to the season but I’m also not a rookie that’s trying to establish myself in the sport and prove something. I do have a track record. There is some proof there that I can do it.

“And the team believes this and knows I can, so it’s just trying to clean it all up and making sure we can get it.

“I don’t want this to take a whole year and I don’t expect it to because, on the one hand I’m not a rookie, I’ve got experience, so that should also speak for something.

“It’s not like I’m trying to show them something that they haven’t seen, we’re just trying to get me, I guess, in a place where I feel like I can deliver.

“There’s no additional pressure from ‘shit, am I going to have a seat next weekend’ or anything. It’s not anything like that.”

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Daniel Ricciardo: I’m also not naïve…

Despite his DNF, the Chinese Grand Prix weekend was a step forward for the 34-year-old, who out-qualified Tsunoda twice, beat him in the Sprint, and was ahead of him in the Grand Prix before the Stroll incident.

Ricciardo, who was given a new chassis in China, hopes this last weekend’s race is just the first step towards securing his place on the grid.

“I’m also not naïve but I haven’t had any indication of that,” he said when asked about the possibility of a mid-season axing.

“Again, it probably goes back to a little bit of maybe what I did in the past, but I think they know – even last year, I showed the signs of speed and everything that maybe I didn’t always show with McLaren.

“So we felt like we got that back out of me and okay, for whatever reason, it hasn’t quite been there to it’s fullest so far this year.

“But I think they know it’s there and also what we’re doing on the sim, they can see that it’s there, so we just now got to put it together.”

According to unconfirmed reports, Ricciardo has until the summer break to prove his worth to RB or else Liam Lawson, who Helmut Marko would like to see racing before the season is out, could replace him.

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