Ricciardo Unfazed by ‘Negative Stuff’ in F1 Paddock

Daniel Ricciardo maintains his focus on the track, disregarding any “negative stuff” swirling around the paddock regarding his future with the RB Formula 1 team.

Despite speculation about his position, Red Bull opted to stick with Ricciardo for the 2024 season over Liam Lawson, who performed admirably during his stint filling in for the injured Australian in five races last year.

However, the early races of this season have seen Ricciardo somewhat overshadowed by his teammate Yuki Tsunoda, who has demonstrated strong performances, including two Q3 appearances and an eighth-place finish in Melbourne.

On the other hand, Ricciardo has faced challenges in finding his rhythm, starting from 18th in his home race after a track-limits infringement cost him a quick lap. His performances in the first three events have seen him finish in 13th, 16th, and 12th positions, respectively.

Amid rumors suggesting that Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has issued Ricciardo an ultimatum to prove himself within two more races or risk losing his seat to Lawson, the Australian driver remains unfazed.

Ricciardo emphasizes that he is not allowing himself to be distracted by such speculation, maintaining his belief in his abilities.

“I came into this weekend, really, honestly, deep down believing like we were going to have a very, very good weekend,” Ricciardo affirmed during the Australian Grand Prix weekend, demonstrating his determination to focus on his performance rather than external chatter.

“In terms of the noise, people tell me like in the media, they’re like, ‘Oh, so and so said’ – it’s the first I’ve heard.

“It’s obviously no disrespect to you guys, but I know that I’m on this little kind of process or journey at the moment. And I just need to focus on myself. And I think if I let any of the noise in, it’s going to kind of distract me from the path I’m on. I haven’t let any of that negative stuff creep in.”

Ricciardo acknowledged that he had hoped for a stronger beginning to the 2024 season, especially after building momentum in the latter part of last year.

“I didn’t expect to start the season like this,” he stated. “Budapest last year, I drove the car a day before, and then I outqualify Yuki and had a really strong race – and with no knowledge.

“And then having a full pre-season and all that, and all the races last year, I honestly thought that this year we would start a lot stronger.

“So there is that which I don’t understand, not only me, but a few people are wondering why. I think the important thing is that I stay on course. It’s not that my head is filled with nonsense or anything. I honestly feel good.

“And just, unfortunately, the results haven’t made me feel awesome. But deep down behind the wheel, I do feel good and excited and just want to keep racing. And I’m sure I’ll find a bit more in myself, and I still believe maybe we’ll find a little something on the car.”

Ricciardo hinted at finding positives from the Melbourne race, despite ending up four places behind his teammate.

“I think there were certainly some moments where it does look more encouraging,” he stated.

“Even then I still have some comments I think for the team, even when we are going fast, I think there’s still some things that I feel like I’m missing. But yeah, certainly a little bit more encouraging, and just we’ll keep chipping away.

“What I obviously want to reiterate to the team as well is that it’s not a sort of confidence thing. It’s not like, ‘What the hell is this car going to do when I brake or when I turn?’

“It’s not that. It’s simply just I feel like a lot of the time I’m not able to carry the speed, maybe, and I see Yuki is able to. So see what I can do better. And I’m asking plenty of questions to the team as well. So it’s a two-part process.”

Ricciardo remains optimistic that forthcoming updates will contribute to him feeling more at ease with the VCARB 01.

“As I said I’m asking the team a lot of questions. And I think we will have some bits and pieces kind of come on to the car in the next kind of one, two races.

“I expect it to be a pretty quick turnaround. And before you know it, we’ll be doing great again. And I know I kind of said that jokingly, but I do! I do believe it. So yeah, we’ll hopefully turn it around.”