A fully re-energised Daniel Ricciardo spelt out his Formula One plans on Thursday, saying he wanted to race for a few more years before ending his career within the Red Bull family.
The 34-year-old Australian started his comeback with Red Bull-owned AlphaTauri last month, after taking time out following his exit from McLaren at the end of 2022, but hopes eventually to return to reigning champions Red Bull Racing.
Red Bull’s Mexican Sergio Perez will be out of contract as double world champion Max Verstappen’s team mate at the end of next season.
Ricciardo’s two years at McLaren were disappointing, generally eclipsed by younger teammate Lando Norris, but he said at the Dutch Grand Prix he was in a good place again and had a point to prove.
“Now that I’m back in the Red Bull family it’s the only place I want to be and want to stay,” he told Sky Sports television.
“However much longer my career is, it’s where I want to end my career.
“It feels like it’s the perfect way to finish this second part of my career and of course the dream is to get back to the big team. But if it’s not that, then I made it clear that I want to be here (AlphaTauri).”
Ricciardo told reporters he was looking well beyond the end of the season.
“I want to be racing for a few more years,” he said. “Six months ago that was not my answer... It feels like me 10 years ago, I feel like I do have that young energy again and that motivation.
“I want to get back to the early days and the real kind of roots and the core of why I got into this and the things that motivated me... just kind of strip everything back and get back to the pure enjoyment of the sport and the love of it.”
Ricciardo had no need for an August break after missing the first 10 races but he said it gave him more time to work on his fitness while others switched off.
“I was certainly looking after my body more than I usually would on a summer break,” he said.
“This second chapter of my career I am feeling different about things... I’m in a very good place and taking it seriously.”
Ricciardo said he felt like he had hit the ground running in Hungary and Belgium but needed to make sure he did not get back into ‘old habits’.
Asked what they might be, the Australian laughed.
“Sometimes I just talk and things come out,” he said. “I guess what I meant was probably not bad habits but just some negativity. When the results aren’t going well of course it’s hard to still be this really positive ball of energy.”
“If I feel like I’m falling into a place of negativity then I have the awareness now to not slip into that, just through experience.”
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