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Ricciardo, Magnussen and Bottas open up on the mental challenge of racing with uncertain F1 futures

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With the Formula 1 ‘silly season’ in full swing, several drivers who are yet to confirm if or where they will be racing in 2025 have explained what it feels like to be competing amid uncertainty over their futures.

Current RB, Haas and Kick Sauber racers Daniel Ricciardo, Kevin Magnussen and Valtteri Bottas are just some of this year’s grid without deals in place for next season, as speculation swirls in the paddock about what their respective teams will decide to do.

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Ricciardo, now 34, has experience of losing his seat and having to fight his way back onto the grid, after parting ways with McLaren at the end of 2022 and returned with the then-named AlphaTauri midway through last season.

But while his team mate, Yuki Tsunoda, was recently given a new contract, a mixed start to 2024 for Ricciardo has put the eight-time Grand Prix winner’s plans up in the air again.

“It’s tough,” said Ricciardo of the driver market situation. “There’s not really just one thing behind a decision, there’s so many… I don’t know, it can be very taxing.

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Ricciardo, Magnussen and Bottas were speaking to the media ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix

“Of course you need to give it the time required, because it’s your future and it’s your career and obviously something you work very hard for.

“But also, at some point you just want to make the decision and kind of move on, but it’s tough because you can’t take it lightly, so it’s one of those ones.

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“I guess we all go through it, we’ve all been through it in some way, shape or form, but I think it means a lot to us and that’s why we obviously put so much weight on it.”

Magnussen, who was demoted to a reserve role after his debut 2014 season at McLaren before making a comeback with Renault and then saw his time at Haas interrupted by a campaign off the grid in 2021, shared similar thoughts to Ricciardo.

“I think not knowing your future is of course not a comfortable situation,” said the 31-year-old. “I think this job has a big effect on your life in general, on not only you as a driver but your whole family.

“Your whole year is dictated by being in F1 when you’re driving. That’s the biggest thing for me, not knowing how life looks in half a year’s time or so.

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“But I’ve been in this situation many times before, I’ve been out of F1 a few times before, and life outside [F1] is also good. When I was younger I had a lot of fear of losing this, which I don’t think you need to have.

“I think it’s a very big privilege, I love driving these cars and I love racing in F1, but I think I’m much more relaxed about things now than I was in the past.

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“We’re very early in the year, so it’s in that way a different situation than I’ve [had] before. I think all the decisions will be made, likely, in the next weeks or so, so it’s pretty and we’ll see how it all ends up.”

Bottas, 34, added: “I think like Kevin said, it’s not that late in the season. I think it gets more difficult as it gets beyond the August break, later into the season and still having that unknown.

“I think that’s more difficult, but obviously over the years you learn to deal with it yourself, you learn to still find that focus for the weekends and that right energy. It’s not my first rodeo, either, so it will be all okay.”

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