Daniel Ricciardo hits back at criticism of RB-Red Bull relationship

RB were one of the most impressive teams in F1 testing ahead of the 2024 Bahrain GP

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Daniel Ricciardo believes concerns about the close relationship between RB and Red Bull from both inside and outside the Formula 1 paddock are exaggerated, and predicted criticism would die down after the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix.

Only three teams finished in the top five laptimes on every single single day of testing with RB joined by Red Bull and Ferrari – who are predicted by many to be the two fastest teams at the Bahrain GP.

With RB pursuing a closer relationship with Red Bull than in previous years after a few seasons in the F1 wilderness, questions have been raised over whether their partnership with the reigning quintuple-champions is fair after Racing Point and Aston Martin both made big steps in the 2020s very closely inspired by Mercedes and Red Bull.

“Look we’ll get our answer in 48 hours,” Ricciardo told the media in Bahrain. “But I think some people think it’s that and we’re going to be the Aston of last year or the ‘Pink Mercedes‘ of a few years ago. Let’s see, I would love to surprise myself and be fighting for a podium.

“But I would say once we get the result on the weekend, people will calm down a bit. Obviously, we do have some components that we’re allowed to use and things like that but it’s not to the level that I think some people are thinking or hoping or whatever.”

Racing Point's Sergio Perez in action during the Turkish GP 2020 | REUTERS/Clive Mason
Racing Point’s Sergio Perez in action during the Turkish GP 2020 | REUTERS/Clive Mason

Racing Point jumped from seventh place in the 2019 constructors’ championship to become the consensus third-quickest car in 2020 with an RP20 that very closely resembled Mercedes‘ machinery.

They were even docked 15 points and given a €400,000 fine for copying Mercedes‘ brake ducts from the W10, but McLaren ultimately pipped them to third in the championship thanks to Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris outperforming Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll.

Ricciardo reserved on RB expectations for 2024

Zak Brown was the McLaren boss in 2020 and has been the most vocal figure against RB and Red Bull‘s close ties with the flying papaya unsure of their position in the pecking order heading into 2024.

Daniel Ricciardo of Visa Cash App RB during day three of 2024 F1 Testing | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Ricciardo admitted he was wowed by the RB20 when it was unveiled earlier in February ahead of pre-season testing, but said he doesn’t expect his own team to have anywhere near the same success as the RB20‘s predecessor.

“Time will tell but I honestly don’t think so,” Ricciardo added. “Like, I want to say after testing, we have a bit of an idea of the gap to the leaders give or take probably a few tenths. But knowing that, I think it’s still a pretty big gap.

“I want to say I’m realistic, that I think there are some teams that fit inside that gap. If we could leave here with Q3 and points I think we’d be very happy. Do I stand here now and say we’re definitely going to be in Q3 and points? I’m still a bit unsure honestly.”

Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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