Daniel Ricciardo reached a point this year where he realized that he had enough of rediscovering the normal life and still wanted to become a Formula 1 racer.
After being dropped by McLaren, Ricciardo spent two months in Australia relaxing with his family and friends to see if the passion he had for the sport was still there. He only trained once during that time.
Ricciardo stated in an interview that “other than that day, I was living my life.” “I was not going crazy; I was camping, fishing, and drinking beers with my friends.
“I didn’t want to become a slob.” I had spent eight weeks on holiday. I didn’t wish to be a slob.
Two months earlier, Ricciardo had left McLaren. In August, after two years of difficult times and a year left on a contract that lasted three years, the team ended it.
Ricciardo knew that he was injured, but he also knew that he had to take a step back to reset his life and start over.
He said, “At the moment, it was quite a harsh truth to be fired.” It’s not the way one wants to end a relationship, but it was the only option available to him. He needed to take a break, re-find himself, and re-find his love for the game.
Ricciardo admitted that the “results weren’t there.” He was unable, other than his victory at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix – his eighth Formula 1 win – to get the performance he needed from the car.
When I returned home to my family for Christmas at the end of the year, I thought, ‘OK.’ It didn’t really help with my reputation, but I had stopped caring. He said that being fired was a blessing.
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Ricciardo didn’t start to worry about a possible return until after a Super Bowl visit in Arizona in February.
It was a busy week for him as he was working with his Creative Artists Agency agent. “I met people and discussed some projects, which got the work side of my brain firing again.
When I returned from the Super Bowl, I took the weights to my apartment in L.A. and began to train. I knew I had to get back in it.”
The first day of the simulator gave Ricciardo, Red Bull, and all they needed to understand what went wrong at McLaren.
Christian Horner said that the Red Bull team’s principal spent seven months rebuilding Daniel and bringing him back to the person we knew when he last worked with the team.
He had developed a number of bad habits. It took his old engineering team a few minutes to remove some of these bad habits and get him back to what he used to.
Horner stated that Ricciardo’s brake technique had “changed dramatically.”
He said that he was trying to stick a sticky plaster over a weak spot in the car. Once we fixed that, everything became more natural.
Ricciardo accepted Horner’s assessment and said that his two years at McLaren stripped him of an essential element: confidence.
Ricciardo stated, “I feel like I’ve lost some of the techniques and strengths that made me so good.” “Things I used to do well in the past didn’t work anymore. So, I had them thrown away. Then, I would try other things, and they would not work. My confidence would then go down, and that was the most important thing.
It was a relief to me that I didn’t operate at the same level as I had thought.
Ricciardo’s confidence only returned after his second simulation run when he began to “unplug” a few things.
Over time, Ricciardo proved himself. He drove for Red Bull at Silverstone two days following the British Grand Prix.
Ricciardo replaced Nyck deVries at AlphaTauri due to his performance. De Vries, a rookie driver who had only driven in 10 races with Red Bull’s sister team, was replaced by Ricciardo at AlphaTauri.
Horner explained that the test was “always scheduled” and was a way to gauge where Horner was.
Horner stated that “with Nyck struggling with it, we felt it took on a greater relevance and give AlphaTauri a direction with an experience driver.” Horner said that after his test performance, it was an easy decision.
Ricciardo had no idea he would return so soon. He even questioned whether it was better to wait until the end of summer to run two more races. After driving in the Hungarian Grand Prix and the Belgian Grand Prix, he understood the reasoning behind the decision.
He said that having those two races prior to the break gave him a good platform on which to build.
But on the third race of his return, the Dutch Grand Prix in August, Ricciardo, In a crash in practice, title =”>broke multiple metacarpals in his left hand. He swerved into a wall to avoid hitting Oscar Piastri’s McLaren, which had crashed just before and was now on the race line.
Ricciardo had to undergo surgery, which required screws and a metal plate. He was forced to miss the final race in Italy.
He has been assured that he will be able to return to Red Bull 2025 and earn a contract next year.
Ricciardo told Christian: “I feel like myself now that I am back with the family. I don’t wish to leave.”
“The bigger picture is that I’d love to make my way up to the top-team.” “I’m not speaking to any other teams. I made that clear. Now it’s up for me to perform because I’d like to remain.”