Daniel Ricciardo has openly declared his hope for a “fairytale” comeback to Red Bull Racing – for the 2024 Formula 1 season. And it’s not just idle paddock chatter, it’s a “dream” that the resurgent Australian habours deeply as he gets back to top form after recovering from a badly broken hand and his 2022 McLaren sacking. “Obviously it’s my dream and it would be a fairytale to come back to Red Bull,” the 33-year-old confessed to RTBF, amidst the whirlwind of speculation in Brazil surrounding the future lineup of the premiere racing team.
Current Red Bull driver Sergio Perez’s continuation into next year, however, is guaranteed by contract – despite his collapsed performance in 2023. The situation has not gone unnoticed by Ricciardo’s former teammate and current world champion, Max Verstappen, who spoke of his past camaraderie with Ricciardo and didn’t dismiss the idea of a reunion. “I always had a great relationship with Daniel when we were teammates and also when we weren’t,” Verstappen told the media, yet he maintained his respect for his current teammate, Perez. “But at the same time, I also have a great relationship with Checo,” he added.
The intrigue continues at Alpha Tauri, Red Bull’s sister team, where Ricciardo has been showcasing a resurgence of his form after a recovery from a broken hand. His impressive performance, alongside the promising Yuki Tsunoda, caught the attention of Red Bull’s advisor Dr. Helmut Marko. “Alpha Tauri have had a lot of upgrades and have taken a big step in terms of speed and tyre management,” Dr. Marko acknowledged, hinting at the potential Ricciardo still possesses. “Both drivers are seriously fast.”
But amid the rumours, Ricciardo remains pragmatic, having experienced the sting of speculation himself in the recent past. “I’m used to rumours,” he said, flashing his usual smile. “I was on the wrong side of them last year, so I know what Checo is going through at the moment.”
Yet, he’s not shy to imagine what would be a remarkable Red Bull return, although Ricciardo insists: “I’m just focusing on myself.”