AlphaTauri’s Daniel Ricciardo has stated that his guaranteed return with the team for 2024 has reignited his career, after admitting that he went through a phase of considering retirement from motorsport.
Ricciardo is one of the grid’s more experienced drivers, currently sitting at 34 years of age and having taken part in over 230 grand prix starts from 13 years in F1. However, his full-time return for 2024 with AlphaTauri has given the Australian a new lease on life after facing the prospect of sitting the whole season out.
The fan favourite has made a spirited comeback with Red Bull’s sister team after being without a seat at the start of the 2023 season. After replacing the struggling Nyck de Vries halfway through the campaign, Ricciardo himself would unfortunately be sidelined for multiple events after suffering a broken hand at the Dutch Grand Prix.
Nevertheless, the recent announcement of the Aussie’s contract extension to remain a part of the grid for the following season has helped his recovery mood. In an interview with the Mirror Sport, Ricciardo shared his positivity on a remained future in F1.
“Very excited to be with a contract on the grid for next year.
“In the first part of this year, I learnt a lot about myself and I think what I want and how I want to go about my career moving forward. It really reignited me and gave me that second wind that I was hoping for but wasn’t forcing.”
“So, now that I've got that and have something confirmed for next year I’m a very, very hungry young man again.”
Following Ricciardo’s extension, any worry for the eight-time race winner of being left on the outside looking in has now vanished. However, prior to his mid-season return, Ricciardo admitted to being seriously concerned over the reality of a comeback in F1.
“This time a year ago I was honestly unsure about really just what I wanted. I wasn’t sure. My whole life has been racing and I've put everything into it, so you’re not really sure when is that time going to come where maybe is time for a change. I was definitely questioning am I going to have those feelings that this is it?”
While Ricciardo seemingly won’t have to deal with thoughts of retirement for a while to come, the AlphaTauri driver won’t be making a return to action for the Qatar Grand Prix. With the Australian still recovering from his broken hand, reserve driver Liam Lawson will continue his inspired spell in the car at the Lusail International Circuit.
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