Daniel Ricciardo radar locked on Red Bull as grand F1 return looms with AlphaTauri

The 'Honey Badger' returns with AlphaTauri but admits his F1 dream is elsewhere

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Daniel Ricciardo has his sights set firmly on Red Bull as he makes his Formula 1 return with AlphaTauri at the 2023 Hungarian Grand Prix.

The 34-year-old was drafted in to replace Nyck de Vries at the Faenza-based team after the Dutchman went the first 10 races of the year without scoring a point. He has the rest of the season to try and prove his worth to Red Bull, although he might not get the chance to move up until 2025 when Sergio Perez’s contract ends.

Ricciardo admitted that AlphaTauri is only a stepping stone back to the big time for him but he wouldn’t get there by over-thinking the future.

“That’s the dream,” Ricciardo told the media ahead of the 2023 Hungarian GP. “But there’s no point in me thinking about that because there’s a lot of work to do here.

“In terms of expectation, there is none. Everything I felt driving the car last week is how I want to go racing again. I just want to be in the moment, enjoying it and not thinking too far ahead.”

The fire still burns

After a tumultuous two seasons at McLaren where he was comprehensively beaten by Lando Norris, Ricciardo had been worried that his love for the sport had dwindled.

But a test in the RB19 and some positive simulator sessions at Milton Keynes reassured him that he still wants to race in F1, whether that be in the fastest car or the slowest.

“I had enough time off to reset but also enjoy it again,” Ricciardo added. “I already felt that on the simulator and that’s why I wanted to drive the car and really make sure it’s truly what I love doing most.

“I was up to speed really quick and it felt so good again and tasting the Red Bull car got me pretty excited.”

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