Daniel Ricciardo admitted some Formula 1 fans see him as an entertainer first and racing driver second, thanks to the sports’ explosion in popularity aided by Drive to Survive.
Ricciardo certainly established himself as a fan-favourite from the very first series of the Netflix hit show, which documented his battle with Max Verstappen at Red Bull and ultimately the Australian’s decision to leave the team for Renault.
“It’s funny sometimes, people come up to me saying ‘You were great in that season’ and I’m like ‘racing season or Drive to Survive season?'” Ricciardo told the press.
“So yeah, for sure to some fans we’re maybe not all viewed as racecar drivers. But it’s just part of it. I think we’re all also building profiles and a bit of a brand, but it’s not anything that’s taken away from the racing side of it.”
Ricciardo‘s set to return to racing with AlphaTauri at the 2023 United States Grand Prix, after the Australian replaced Nyck de Vries halfway through the season but only managed to get on track twice before a broken wrist in Zandvoort allowed Liam Lawson to thrive in a five-race substitue cameo.
Ricciardo changed approach for 2023 F1 return
Ricciardo added he’s gone back to basics for his 2023 return, where he outperformed Yuki Tsunoda in his first race back but couldn’t follow that up at the Belgian GP.
Lawson impressed mightily at AlphaTauri and has many fans calling for him to be given a permanent seat on the 2024 grid.
However, both seats in Faenza are locked down for now, with Tsunoda and Ricciardo set to continue at a team operating more closely with Red Bull.
“All of our profiles have grown in the last few years in particular since Drive to Survive, I think just me with my personality just having some fun with the sport that probably got a little bigger as well,” Ricciardo added.
“It draws a few LOLs every now and then but first and foremost I certainly see myself as a race car driver, not an entertainer or anything like that.
“So me coming back into it this year and having a little bit of that time off, it certainly made me kind of just figure out what I’m about moving forward and how I want to go racing, probably just removing a few things and going back to a little bit of the basics.
“And just making sure that I am seen as a race car driver who’s still hungry and determined and not someone who’s just here for a good time.”