Daniel Ricciardo puts Red Bull rumours into ‘perspective’ amidst ‘pink Mercedes’ debate

Michelle Foster
Daniel Ricciardo speaking with team boss Laurent Mekies.

Daniel Ricciardo says his RB01 is no pink Mercedes or green Aston Martin.

Daniel Ricciardo has downplayed rivals’ pink Mercedes or green Aston Martin concerns over RB’s closer collaboration with Red Bull, adamant he won’t be on the podium in Bahrain.

This season Red Bull have incorporated closer collaboration between their two teams after Helmut Marko declared that “do-it-yourself constructions are the wrong way” to go.

The VCARB-01, though, is by no means a clone of last year’s championship-winning RB19.

‘Once we get the result of the weekend, people will calm down’

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

Although it does lean towards the 2023 Red Bull with its underbite sidepod air entries and sidepod undercut that’s where the resemblance stops.

Ricciardo is also not expecting the car to mimic Red Bull’s results, adamant there won’t be major gains.

“We’ll get our answer in 48 hours but I think some people think we’re going to the Aston of last year or the pink Mercedes of a few years ago,” he told the media, including PlanetF1.com. “Let’s see.

“I would love to surprise myself and be fighting for a podium but I would say once we get the result of the weekend, people will calm down.

“Obviously we do have some components that we’re allowed to use and things like that but it is not to the level that I think some people are thinking or hoping.”

Ricciardo’s team has been talked up by their rivals since testing with many believing they could be in the thick of the midfield this season as the most improved team over the winter.

Asked about that, Ricciardo said: “Time will tell, but I honestly don’t think so.

“I want to say after testing we have a bit of an idea of the gap to the leaders – okay, give or take probably a few tenths. But knowing that, it’s still I think a bit of a pretty big gap.

“I want to say I’m realistic, I think there are some teams that fit inside that gap.

“If we could leave here with Q3 and points, I think we’d be very happy. So I stand here now and say we’re definitely going to be in Q3 and points, still a bit unsure.”

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Daniel Ricciardo puts Red Bull rumours into ‘perspective’

Ricciardo will line up on the Bahrain grid already linked to one of the sport’s top race seats for next season, Sergio Perez’s at Red Bull.

With this season said to be a continuation of his Red Bull audition that began last year in Hungary, the Honey Badger is adamant that’s not something he’s focused on.

“I got asked before, ‘what’s your thoughts on trying to get back to the Red Bull seat?’ I kind of refuse to look too far down the track now. I think we’re here, there’s a job to do at the start of the season.

“I think thinking anything beyond this week is kind of crazy. And I think just having that little bit of perspective with sitting out and kind of losing a seat has given me that.

“So yeah, not getting too far ahead, don’t get too caught up in anything.

“Also with that perspective or mindset, I’ll be able to put everything into it in this given day, and in this given time, and not get distracted.”

But while it’s not his focus, it is that of his team-mate Yuki Tsunoda who has declared getting that seat is his “priority”.

Asked about the potential for a ramped up rivalry with his Japanese team-mate, Ricciardo replied: “I think it’s good to have that, let’s say as a goal for both of us, it’s natural.

“So it’s nice for it to be somewhere maybe towards the back of our head. I think on a positive that will bring out the best competitors in us and hopefully drive each other a little bit further.

“But am I lining up on the grid? Thinking about ‘oh, if I have a good race, I’m gonna be in that seat or whatever’? No, I’m not. That’s the best way to put it.

“It’s there as a goal but it’s not there as my focus.”

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