Daniel Ricciardo has admitted he is daring to dream about a return to Red Bull ahead of his Formula One comeback at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Ricciardo’s career looked to be all but over after he was dumped by McLaren following two underwhelming seasons with the British team.
But the popular 34-year-old has been handed a second chance, replacing Nyck de Vries at Red Bull’s junior team AlphaTauri for the concluding dozen rounds of the year, starting at the Hungaroring on Sunday.
Ricciardo impressed during a test at Silverstone for Red Bull last Tuesday, and given Sergio Perez’s torrid run of form – which has seen him fall 99 points adrift of team-mate Max Verstappen – AlphaTauri’s move to hire the Australian will fuel speculation that he could land a return to the team which carried him to seven of his eight victories.
And speaking at the world champions’ packed motorhome on Thursday, Ricciardo said: “The dream is a Red Bull seat, but there is no ‘this is what you need to do’ to achieve that.
“Given what has happened over the past few years and taking time off, I knew it would be hard to get back in at the top.
“Of course that was my wish, but you need to be realistic, and if I want to get back into Red Bull it will be a process, and this is the best path for me at the moment.
“You know what they are like here. They are not telling me to take it easy, they want me to show them what I have got, but there is no criteria.
“And in terms of expectations there are none. I want to be in the moment, enjoying it, and not thinking too far ahead.”
Ricciardo’s reputation in the sport is on the line following his poor period with McLaren which saw the British team move to cancel his contract.
Ricciardo failed to land a seat for the 2023 campaign and instead elected to return to Red Bull as a reserve driver.
But he might struggle to impress with a team rooted to the foot of the constructors’ table, taking just two points from the first 10 races.
However, Ricciardo added: “Over the past few years, I started falling into a trap where I believed the car does not suit me and you can be your own worst enemy. I know this car will have limitations but I will work with that.
“Getting this opportunity is a chance to make things better. That is why I am excited to get back behind the wheel and show my true self.
“I had enough time off to reset and also enjoy it again. Six months ago, I wasn’t at a place to jump at an opportunity like this but that has been the luxury of time.
“I have fallen in love with it again and I feel myself in an environment that provides me with a lot of nostalgia, so when the opportunity came along it was like, ‘let’s try it’.”
Published: by Radio NewsHub