Daniel Ricciardo tipped to return to ‘top lists’ after career ‘rough patch’

Sam Cooper
Daniel Ricciardo VCARB launch photo.

Daniel Ricciardo will continue with VCARB for the 2024 F1 season

Daniel Ricciardo has been tipped to return to Formula 1’s “top lists” by his new boss, Visa Cash App RB team principal Laurent Mekies.

Mekies moved across from Ferrari to Faenza at the start of the year and will be overseeing the team as it begins life under its new guise.

In Ricciardo, he has one of the most experienced drivers on the grid and has described the Australian as an “incredible asset” for the team.

Laurent Mekies tips Daniel Ricciardo for return to the top

Mekies’ move represents a step up for the 46-year-old Frenchman who previously worked as Ferrari’s deputy team principal and racing director, but one task he does not have to do is help guide two rookies in the team.

Yuki Tsunoda is embarking on his fourth season in the sport while 2024 will be season number 14 for Ricciardo. On the Australian, Mekies said he still had the ability to be amongst the best on the grid.

“He’s an incredible asset for the team,” Mekies told F1.com. “There are not many drivers in the field with his sort of pedigree, that many race wins, with that sensibility for the car, with that spirit for our people.

“If you have a large group of people that is just motivated a bit more because of all the energy a driver can convey, it makes a difference. It’s hidden lap time, not one you can see on your tracker on the wall. It makes a difference.

“It’s great to have him on board in terms of speed, spirit and car development. He was on everyone’s top list until a couple of years ago. Then obviously he had a rough patch. We’re lucky to be the ones to rebuild with him from that.

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“There is no reason why Daniel is not on the same trajectory as the one that was putting him on those top lists a few years ago. He has from that era gained experience and a lot of learning about how to manage his energy. I see him very hungry, extremely motivated, extremely focused.”

Mekies also praised Tsunoda who he said had shown “season after season” he has the speed to compete in F1.

“I’m very impressed with Yuki,” Mekies said. “Ultimately he has proven, month after month, season after season that his speed is incredible. He’s had quite a few team-mates now and all the time the speed kept building up.

“If you combine that with his integration with the team, his technical understanding that is growing, you have a very strong package. He’s a hard worker, he’s living in Faenza, he comes to the factory extremely often. He has an incredible natural speed, so the combination with Daniel in terms of pushing each other makes it a very strong line up.”

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