Ricciardo: Signs are pointing to 2024 Formula One return
Daniel Ricciardo believes he will return to the Formula One grid for the 2024 season after a year-long absence.
The Australian departed McLaren at the end of the 2022 campaign and did not take a seat on the grid for 2023, instead returning to Red Bull in a reserve driver capacity.
Just three months into his reduced role, which has allowed far more free time, Ricciardo feels he has got what he wanted out of the break and is now seeking a full-time return to F1.
While it is not yet known what opportunities may emerge next year, Ricciardo is expecting to be back
"The signs are pointing towards getting back on the grid. I feel like that's where I'm tracking in my head and a few of the habits that I'm having or doing is pointing towards that," he told reporters ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.
"It's only been a few months [out of F1] but I think some itches have been scratched, so to speak. I've actually weirdly found that the days that I've had no schedule are the days when I've actually done training, and I've done things like I would before.
"So I don't know, being my own boss, writing my own schedule has actually brought out a lot of the things in me. When I thought I might just sit on the couch and watch movies all day and eat junk food, I'm just not. That's not me.
"So even these things have made me realise how much I do care about it."
However, Ricciardo will not change the stance he had ahead of the current season and will only accept a seat with a team capable of fighting at the front end of the grid.
"I still am at a point where it's not at any cost, it's not just to be back on the grid," he added.
"A lot of the reason for taking this year off was that I didn't want to just jump back into a car, any car just to be one of the F1 drivers. And I still don't see myself starting from scratch and rebuilding a career from ground zero and going at it for another decade.
"I appreciate I might not have every opportunity under the sun, but I want to win. I want to be back with a top team and obviously a team where I have my confidence back and my mojo.
"I think also that's where, maybe when I look back that's a weakness of mine, but in a way it's a strength as I feel better at the front of the grid. I feel like I perform in those situations with a bit more pressure and a bit more emphasis on a podium.
"So, to go back and try to put myself in just any seat or something that's fighting at best for a top-10 finish, I don't think that's going to bring the best out of me. So yeah, I see myself, at least in my head, wanting to go back on the grid, but there's still some terms and conditions, so to speak."