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Daniel Ricciardo Explains Joining AlphaTauri as the “Realistic” Option for F1 Return

Daniel Ricciardo explained that joining AlphaTauri and not a top team was simply "realistic"....

For many, Daniel Ricciardo’s decision to join AlphaTauri had them scratching their heads after he told the media that he wouldn’t want to join a team that wasn’t capable of race wins. Ricciardo has now cleared things up ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix. 

“I had enough time off to reset and kind of enjoy it again,” said Ricciardo. “I already felt that in the simulator this year. 

“But that is also why I wanted to drive and really make sure it is what I love doing most.” 

Alright, makes sense, but the Australian adds that he’s had a bit of a reality check. Considering his poor performance at McLaren, Ricciardo realises that he has to earn his way back to a top team. 

“I knew with everything that happened the last few years and getting back into the sport, taking some time off, I knew it would be very hard to go back into the top,” Ricciardo added. 

“That was my wish, but I think also, you need to be realistic at some point and say, ‘If I want to get back to a Red Bull seat, it is going to take a process and a path.’

“This for me is the best path at the moment, and also six months ago I wasn’t in a place to jump at an opportunity like this, but that has been the luxury of time where I have fallen in love with it again and been myself again, back in an environment that gives me a lot of nostalgia. I spent a lot of my career here [at Red Bull], a lot of my journey and junior days here.

“Talking to Helmut [Marko] again more recently, it kind of feels like where I belong, so when the opportunity came, I thought, ‘Absolutely, let’s try it.’”

With that in mind, he’s aware that this chance could lead to a Red Bull seat one day, but acknowledges that he needs to prove himself once again. 

“That’s the dream, so to speak, but there is no point in me thinking about that,” Ricciardo asserted.

“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 want to be in the moment, enjoying it, not thinking too far ahead. 

“I have been following and I know the car is going to have limitations, but I have got to do the best with what I have got. If it is something I feel I can work with, that’s all I need to feel good behind the wheel again and also use some of my experience to push the team.” 

Ricciardo will debut with AlphaTauri at this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix. 

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