Daniel Ricciardo admits he does not deserve his F1 seat if poor form continues

By Sports Desk April 19, 2024

Daniel Ricciardo said he has been assured by Red Bull that he is not set to lose his seat – but admitted if he continues to get his “arse whooped” he does not deserve to be in Formula One.

Following a troubled start to his first full season back on the grid, Ricciardo, 34, arrives for this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix as a driver under pressure.

Ricciardo was handed a reprieve by Red Bull’s junior outfit, RB, midway through last season, after he was dumped by McLaren.

But he has failed to get up to speed in 2024, out-qualified by team-mate Yuki Tsunoda at every event, and without a point to his name.

He also crashed out on the first lap in Japan a fortnight ago, and Red Bull team principal Christian Horner – integral in bringing him back into the fold – said here in Shanghai that Ricciardo has “under-performed” so far this season.

It has even been suggested that a failure to turn his troubling form around could see Ricciardo replaced by Red Bull reserve driver Liam Lawson as early as the next race in Miami.

But in an interview with the PA news agency, Ricciardo said: “Everybody in the team is shutting that down. The black and white, is that I have a contract.

“However, I have to earn my spot. I don’t want these results to continue for a year, and for me to say: ‘well I should be here because it is on paper’. I am not going to be happy with that. At the end of the day, if I am getting my arse whooped I don’t deserve to be here.

“I want to get back to a place where I know I can be, and I feel confident I can get there. I am aware I have to get the results. But from my side, I am not a rookie trying to prove something or to establish myself. I do have a history in this sport. I do have a track record that says I can win.

“But if we get to December and I have not been able to extract that then maybe I will be like, ‘fine I am done with this’ or ‘I am not good enough’, but I certainly don’t feel like that in my heart.”

Ricciardo’s stock fell after two poor years with McLaren, and his career looked over when his contract was cancelled at the end of 2022. But an upbeat Ricciardo believes his troubled spell with the British team has allowed him to remain positive amid his current disappointing run.

“I went through this at McLaren and I bought into the noise because I ended up losing the belief,” he said. “I would question myself: ‘F***, maybe I have lost that edge? Maybe I can’t do it anymore?’

“But now I sit here in a different place because I do feel rejuvenated. That is why it is frustrating because in my head it makes no sense.

“If I do well here and in Miami, all of a sudden it is forgotten about. I don’t get caught up in it, but deep down, I know I have to do better.”

Ricciardo announced at his comeback race in Hungary last year that his dream is to return to Red Bull where he raced to seven of his eight career wins between 2014 and 2018.

But recent results have seen him looking over his shoulder, rather than as a potential replacement for Sergio Perez, who is out of contract at the end of the year, or even Max Verstappen, whose future with the all-conquering, but scandal-hit team, remains uncertain.

“Is it still a goal (to re-join Red Bull)? said Ricciardo. “Of course. But where I sit right now, I don’t want to talk about it because I know I have to do better.

“I am also aware that if I start talking about that, all the responses, will be like, ‘mate, focus on where you are’, which is the truth.

“And look, can anything happen in F1? Yes. But my prediction is that Max stays (at Red Bull).”

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