Ricciardo denies Red Bull rumours, sets focus on return to form

F1 cult favourite Daniel Ricciardo has attracted rumours of a Red Bull return following his 7th-placed finish at the Mexican Grand Prix. 

Conversely, questions have been raised over the future of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, who retired from his home race after a clash with Charles Leclerc in the first corner.

After a strong start to the 2023 campaign, Perez has managed one podium in his last five Grand Prix. 

Ricciardo joined affiliate team AlphaTauri on loan from Red Bull in July. 

MORE: F1 2023: Schedule, standings, results after US Grand Prix

While the prospect of Ricciardo re-joining the constructors champions could be beneficial to both parties, the Australian’s focus remains on AlphaTauri.

Speaking ahead of the São Paulo Grand Prix on Monday, the 34-year-old denied ongoing talks with Red Bull. 

“All the stuff around my contract next year has been related to AlphaTauri,” Ricciardo said at the Brazilian Grand Prix pre-race press conference.

“That’s honestly as far as that goes.

“For me, personally, having a weekend like Mexico is just definitely good for the soul.

“Also for the team, you know, I haven’t been here long but for them to be 10th in the constructors and to jump two places in the space of two weekends was huge.

“That creates a very happy atmosphere around everyone. Kind of happy doing that and try to just keep charging on where I am.”

MORE: Verstappen takes record win at restarted Mexican Grand Prix

When asked on Thursday if he felt as though he was back to his best, Ricciardo gave a typically laidback answer, “Yeah.”

“Obviously this sport you’ve got to keep backing it up… it’s nice to have a good weekend, in my mind to have one, it’s not enough,” he continued.

“But for me to have a strong weekend from start to finish I think spoke something.”

Ricciardo caught eyes with a P4 finish in qualifying at the Mexican GP, though he admits his return to F1 has been complicated.

“It’s something I’ve struggled with the last year or two, I didn’t have many weekends like that.

“This year was just about me rebuilding myself again, and just trying to find that old form or that old me. 

“Mexico felt a lot like that.”

Ricciardo will take place in his fifth race of the season at São Paulo on Monday. 

Even if no offer comes from Red Bull, Ricciardo is set to hold his seat at AlphaTauri next year. 

The constructors began the current campaign with Yuki Tsunoda and rookie Nyck de Vries behind the wheel but dropped the latter just 10 Grands Prix in after an underwhelming start. 

An experienced Ricciardo was brought in to steady the ship before the Australian suffered a hand injury in the Netherlands.

In the Australian’s two races since his injury, he has recorded P7 and P15 finishes and appears to be growing in confidence since his F1 return.

Team principal Franz Tost praised Ricciardo’s experience when announcing his re-signing in September.

“Next year, the technical regulations remain largely unchanged and it was therefore logical to go for continuity in our driver line-up too,” Tost said.

“I am very pleased with the development that Yuki [Tsunoda] has shown over the last two and a half years with our team and with Daniel’s great race-winning experience we will have one of the most competitive driver pairings on the grid in 2024.”

Daniel Ricciardo news: F1 driver denies Red Bull rumours, sets focus on return to form

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