Daniel Ricciardo had one wish after missing out on Abu Dhabi GP points

Daniel Ricciardo finished 11th at the 2023 Abu Dhabi GP for AlphaTauri

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AlphaTauri driver Daniel Ricciardo feels one more lap would have seen him have a chance of scoring a world championship point in Sunday’s 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Ricciardo, who started from 15th, had a difficult first stint of the race after having to stop on Lap 8 because of a tear-off being found in his brake ducts, dropping him to 19th.

The Australian had the pace to move into the points before letting one-time race leader Yuki Tsunoda pass to aid AlphaTauri’s bid for seventh in the constructors’ championship.

In the closing stages, Ricciardo had a late surge of speed, moving up to 11th, coming within a second of 10th-placed Lance Stroll, but ran out of laps to snatch a world championship point.

“I kind of need to see how much [the tare off] affected us because I think for a two stop, we would have probably pitted a little bit later,” explained Ricciardo to the media.

“But yeah, I don’t know if it kind of made me put us in a little bit of traffic or not, but I think it was not bad, I’d say we recovered well and had a decent race.

“I think, there’s always ifs and whats and maybes, but one more lap, I think we had Stroll or certainly would have got his DRS and hadn’t had a chance at him.

“So yeah, one lap away from the potential point, which is not too bad, obviously where we started. Of course, seventh would be nice, but few races ago, we were talking about not finishing 10th, so the seventh is kind of a bonus, it gives us a little bit more to fight for next year.”

Daniel Ricciardo hugs AlphaTauri Team Principal Franz Tost ahead of 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Excited for a new era at Faenza

Abu Dhabi marked the end of an era at AlphaTauri as Franz Tost will depart his position as team principal of the Faenza-based outfit after Sunday’s race.

The Austrian, who has been at the helm for 17 years, will be replaced in 2024 by Ferrari’s former sporting director Laurent Mekies, with the FIA’s former head of single-seaters Peter Bayer joining as CEO.

AlphaTauri will be rebranded next year, with the team set to change its name to Racing Bulls after the name and supposed team logo were trademarked by Red Bull GmbH earlier this year. 

“It is, I feel like there’s a lot for me kind of coming back in that’s really exciting,” stated an upbeat Ricciardo when asked about the rebrand.

“I think there’s also a team that is kind of rebuilding and a little bit like how I’ve kind of done this phase of my career, so we’re all kind of on a similar path.

“And I would say there’s a lot of confidence, and I think in Yuki’s season, he stepped up a lot and kind of proved himself, and I think the team has a lot of faith in me.

“I think they still see me as a Red Bull driver and the results I had and not as a McLaren driver and the results I had, so we’re all in a good place.”

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