Daniel Ricciardo set for Nordschleife laps as future F1 rumors swirl


Daniel Ricciardo has largely been in the shadows as Red Bull’s reserve Formula One driver this year, but the Australian is set to drive laps at the iconic Nordschleife circuit in September.

Driving a Red Bull show car as part of a festival leading up to the 12 Hours of Nurburgring, Ricciardo will be behind the wheel for the first official F1 demonstration laps since 2013. That was Michael Schumacher’s final time in an F1 car before suffering significant injuries in a skiing accident.

Ricciardo has not been a regular presence in the race day paddock this year, as he is slated to make appearances at select Grand Prix events and potentially get behind the wheel for a tire test.

Whether he returns to the grid in 2024 remains to be seen. Team principal Christian Horner has said it is unlikely to be with Red Bull — despite Sergio Perez’s contract expiring at the end of 2024 — but does believe Ricciardo is ready to drive at a moment’s notice.

“I’d say he’s about 10 minutes away from being ready,” Horner said, per the Express. “He’s in good shape; he’s kept himself fit and well. I think that he’s training hard and he’s ready to go given the chance.”

Ricciardo was let go by McLaren after two disappointing seasons following a stint at Renault. After discussions with a handful of teams, the eight-time winner ultimately decided to take a year off and rejoined Red Bull as the reserve driver behind Perez and Max Verstappen.

The upcoming “silly season” will determine what potential seats are open for Ricciardo on the grid in 2024. However, his stated desire to return for a team competing at the top of the grid may not pan out.

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner was overheard on the Netflix series “Drive to Survive” telling driver Kevin Magnussen last year that Ricciardo was seeking “$10 million minimum.” Haas ultimately signed Nico Hulkenberg.

Steiner acknowledged that he chatted with Ricciardo on the plane heading to the Australian Grand Prix this year, but that the two did not discuss his future F1 plans.

“We didn’t even go there to be honest,” Steiner told Sky Sports News. “Danny wanted to take a year out and then see what he wants to do next, and I think when he’s ready he will phone people up and say ‘I’m ready again.'”

While Horner doesn’t envision that being with Red Bull, he is hoping to see Ricciardo back on the grid.

“Daniel’s just a positive energy to have around and it’s great to see him getting his mojo back, to see that big smile on his face — he lights up a room when he walks in,” he said, per the Express.

“His popularity in Formula One … even though he’s not driving, he’s still probably the most popular driver here, and for us, it’s just positive to have him in the team, contributing to the team, to the drivers, to the engineering team. Hopefully he’ll rediscover his love for the sport. He’ll do a bit of testing for us later in the year and we’ll see how that how that goes for him.”

–Field Level Media

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