Daniel Ricciardo says his main goal for the Hungarian Grand Prix is to “have fun” as he makes his return to Formula 1.
Last week, AlphaTauri announced that it had dropped Nyck de Vries with immediate effect, with Ricciardo brought in to replace him.
It will mark Ricciardo’s first F1 race weekend since last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, when his two-season stint with McLaren came to a close.
After departing McLaren, Ricciardo reunited with Red Bull in a third driver role, ultimately leading to his return to the grid.
Having driven for the Red Bull sister team before in 2012 and 2013 when it ran under the Toro Rosso moniker, Ricciardo says he feels at home at the AlphaTauri squad.
“I’m stoked to be back,” he said. “As always with the Red Bull family, you have to be ready for a call and when it came I jumped at the opportunity.
“The transition to AlphaTauri has gone smoothly.
“Last week, I was back in Faenza, the factory has changed a lot since I last raced for the team a decade ago, but there were still plenty of familiar faces and I felt at home as we prepare for the upcoming race.
“I’m looking forward to also developing the car and using my experience, and ultimately, I think, for Budapest, just go out and have fun, try and use more right foot than left and have a good time!
“The key to this track is getting into a rhythm – you put so many corners together – and if the car is balanced, you can really have some fun.”
AlphaTauri currently sits at the bottom of the championship standings, with Yuki Tsunoda scoring two points so far this season.
Ricciardo’s most recent outing in an F1 car came at a tyre test at Silverstone, which was held the same day his full-time return was formally announced.
With AlphaTauri’s challenger not on the same competitive level as Red Bull’s, Ricciardo anticipates that it will be a struggle to immediately be up to speed in the AT03.
“When I drove the Red Bull in the tyre test at Silverstone last week it all felt very normal,” he said.
“The AlphaTauri car will be what it is. I’m going to drive it and work from there.
“I don’t want to have too many preconceived ideas about it. I think if it’s a car that feels balanced, that’s something I can work with.
“It’s going to be a challenge, to jump in and just hit the ground running, but I’m excited about it.”