‘I’ve cut back on a lot of things’ – Ricciardo reveals how he’s changed his approach after F1 return
Daniel Ricciardo has opened up about the refreshed mindset he adopted upon his return to the Formula 1 grid during the 2023 campaign, making clear that racing is “the priority” going forward.
Ricciardo started last year on the sidelines after parting ways with McLaren and returning to Red Bull in a third driver role but was drafted in at AlphaTauri mid-season to replace the struggling Nyck de Vries.
It marked a welcome return to the hot seat for the Australian, whose trademark grin and bubbly personality – whether it be when strolling through the paddock, during media duties or on talk shows around the world – have made him a hit with fans over the years.
But with his comeback developing, Ricciardo was asked about the importance of this time being seen as purely a racing driver and less of an entertainer – prompting the Australian to outline a revised approach.
“I’ve definitely cut back on a lot of things, let’s say, outside of racing, for sure,” he said. “I still have some other interests outside of the sport, which I’m involved in, and I enjoy, but I’ve minimised a lot.
“I’m really just trying to, I think, make sure that… I think it always has been, but to obviously make the racing the priority. With the calendar now and the schedule, if I’ve got some time off, then I’m either in the gym or I’m putting my feet up and recovering for the next race.”
The eight-time Grand Prix winner continued: “I think just kind of prioritising a few things outside of this job. Especially the way the sport’s growing, it’s easy to get a little bit – I don’t even want to say lost – but there’s just so much going.
“There’s so many things that you can be doing. It’s all really exciting and really fun, and I am… I love that stuff, of course, because it’s obviously a new experience and it’s great.
“But I think having the time off for the start of the year, I realised that I was probably just doing too much sometimes and probably even just not prioritising myself in terms of my body and my recovery and all that. So, in a long way of saying it, just trying to focus on that.”
Ricciardo will continue alongside Yuki Tsunoda at AlphaTauri for the 2024 season, having scored six points from seven Grands Prix last year – either side of an accident that left him with wrist injuries and ruled him out of five races.
That haul helped AlphaTauri to eighth position in the constructors’ standings, just behind Williams and ahead of Alfa Romeo and Haas.