As Daniel Ricciardo is set to take the wheel of the RB19 for the first time in July for a Pirelli tyre test, the Australian hopes to remind Red Bull he can “still do it.”
Since returning to Red Bull ahead of the current season, Ricciardo has taken on the role of third driver, and has so far made appearances at the Australian and Miami Grands Prix, where he joined the team in a reserve driver capacity.
Now, the eight-time grand prix winner is set to take the wheel of the RB19 for the first time in July after the British Grand Prix, partaking in a Pirelli tyre test.
Talking to Sky F1 ahead of the Miami Grand Prix, the 33-year-old said he’s enjoying his time off, but he is also clear on his target.
“I’m really enjoying this year and I think I’ll continue to enjoy it, but by next year I think I’ll certainly be eager to get back on the grid and compete.
“I feel like there is still some unfinished business.
“I’m continuing to do simulator. I’m going to jump in the car in July to get back behind the wheel.
“I’m sure that will really stimulate me and give me all those feels back.
“Naturally I’m going to put a bit of pressure on myself for that and try to remind the team that I can still do it. We’ll see where it goes.”
Getting a Red Bull seat for 2024 might not be so straightforward for the Australian, however.
Two-time World Champion Max Verstappen is tied to the team until 2028, while his teammate and championship rival Sergio Perez extended his deal with the team until the end of next year.
2009 World Champion Jenson Button also weighed in on the discussion about Ricciardo’s future: “It’s a tricky one. It’s very unlikely he’s going to be in a Red Bull – both drivers are doing an amazing job. So that is very unlikely.
“There’s always AlphaTauri as an option isn’t there?”
Ricciardo reportedly had a seat fit at the AlphaTauri factory in Faenza recently, fuelling the speculation of an impending mid-season swap with the thus far underperforming Nyck de Vries, though those rumours have since been shut down.
The Australian driver himself has also spoken about his preference for returning to the grid in a top team, rather than “go back to ground zero.”
He’s ensuring he keeps fit and in physical condition to get back in a Formula 1 car, should the need arise: “I love playing sports. I love being active and doing all that stuff. So I haven’t allowed myself to get too out of shape.
“I know I’ll be ready to put myself in a position to be back on the grid next year,”