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Friday, March 1, 2024

Daniel Ricciardo Wants to Stay out of the Silly Season Despite Lewis Hamilton Leaving His Seat Vacant

Daniel Ricciardo has been involved in a lot of silly season transfers in the past few years. He lost his McLaren seat in a chaotic driver market move in 2022. That was a horrible heartbreak for him to sit on the sidelines in the final year of his contract. However, the tables turned for the Honey Badger, as he got his F1 return at AlphaTauri (now V-CARB). After so much volatility, Ricciardo wishes to stay out of the battle for the vacant Mercedes seat after Lewis Hamilton‘s shock switch to Ferrari.

Speaking to RACER on whether he would like to replace Hamilton, the Aussie driver stated he does not wish to look so far into the future. Ricciardo said, “I am by no means looking that far ahead. In this part of my career, I think looking far ahead kind of feels like one year closer to the end.”

The 34-year-old driver is looking to take things on a “race by race” basis in 2024. While there are several drivers in the market vying for Hamilton’s seat, Ricciardo feels otherwise. He stated, “So yeah, silly season, part of me is also happy to not be in all these crazy things, especially this early in the season.”

“So if the silly season happens without me, I’m also OK with that right now!”, commented Ricciardo.

The eight-time race winner has previously highlighted his keenness to return to a race-winning top team. Mercedes may have been the perfect opportunity for Ricciardo. However, their lackluster form in the last two seasons may be a factor that is keeping the Australian driver uninterested for now.

Ricciardo did highlight though how Toto Wolff is in a good situation with “no rush” to finalize Hamilton’s replacement. So, Wolff and his team can assess their options thoroughly before deciding on whom to sign.

If not Mercedes, then which team is Daniel Ricciardo aiming for?

Daniel Ricciardo will race his first full season in 2024 after a patch return last year. The Honey Badger is quite excited to start afresh in the newly rebranded RB F1 team (formerly AlphaTauri). However, will RB be the team, Ricciardo wants to be at for the long haul? Certainly not.

The #3 driver clarified last season that he aims to return to Red Bull for a fairytale ending to his career. This could only be possible if the Milton Keynes team decides to replace Sergio Perez, who has been underperforming, to say the least.

Last year after earning the call-up to the Faenza team, Ricciardo could not show his skills to the fullest due to a wrist injury. This injury kept him out of five races from Zandvoort to Qatar. Now, as he starts 2024 fully recovered and fit to race in a rejuvenated RB outfit, it could be a game-changer for his Red Bull ambitions.

Ricciardo would ideally hope that the VCARB-01 is a good, consistent midfield car that helps him impress the top dogs at Red Bull. With Perez’s contract expiring after 2024, the Aussie is in a great place to capitalize on the situation and earn a Red Bull return for 2025.

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