Following two years of not reaching expected performance levels alongside Lando Norris at McLaren, Ricciardo was financially compensated by the team to exit a year before his contract concluded. This made room for Oscar Piastri, the Formula 2 champion.
Ricciardo chose to step back from the limelight, accepting a 12-month third driver role at Red Bull and hoping to secure a racing seat in 2024 instead of settling for a less competitive drive.
Despite being hit by Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu at the first corner and experiencing subsequent diffuser damage, Ricciardo clawed his way back to the 13th position after pitting for a clear track.
Upon his return, Ricciardo felt a renewed energy, which he had anticipated, thanks to a conversation he had with Alonso during a flight. Alonso, who had left McLaren in 2018 to win the Le Mans 24 Hours twice and later rejoined F1 with Alpine in 2021, had encouraged Ricciardo about the merits of a career break.
Ricciardo shared, “Although it wasn’t the year I envisioned, it certainly served as a reset for me, and I feel recharged. I remember discussing with Fernando around two years ago. At that point, a break wasn’t on my mind. We just happened to converse, probably during a flight, and he mentioned how the hiatus was one of the best decisions he made. This got me thinking and gave me the confidence to take a break if I ever needed one.”
Ricciardo, who was visibly thrilled after enduring a 70-lap race following an eight-month break, also expressed satisfaction at the progress of his previous team, McLaren. Norris clinched the second spot in Budapest, following an impressive show at Silverstone. Despite being outpaced by Norris and sustaining floor damage, Piastri, the rookie, managed to secure the fifth place.
Reflecting on the performance of the MCL60, Ricciardo said, “For whatever reasons, the McLaren didn’t resonate with my driving style. However, it definitely syncs with Lando. He knows how to extract the most from it. I felt stuck last year, which was hard to overcome. Hence, the break and joining a new team have probably been the best decisions for me.”
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Formula 1 break
Q: Why did Ricciardo take a break from Formula 1?
A: Ricciardo opted to take a break from Formula 1 after two years of underperforming alongside Lando Norris at McLaren. The team paid him to leave a year ahead of his contract expiring to make way for Formula 2 champion Oscar Piastri.
Q: How did Ricciardo feel after returning to F1?
A: Ricciardo felt reinvigorated after his return to Formula 1. He had a conversation with Fernando Alonso, who had previously taken a break from F1 and found it to be beneficial. This discussion reassured Ricciardo about the advantages of time away from racing.
Q: How did Ricciardo’s performance go during his comeback?
Q: What did Ricciardo say about McLaren’s progress?
A: Ricciardo reflected on McLaren’s progress and noted that the team’s car seemed to suit Lando Norris better than it did him. After two years of trying to break the “stalemate,” Ricciardo acknowledged that the time off and joining a new team had been the best decision for him.
Q: How did McLaren perform in recent races?
A: McLaren showed improvement in recent races, with Lando Norris finishing second at the Budapest Grand Prix, following a strong showing at Silverstone. Rookie Oscar Piastri also displayed resilience, securing fifth place despite being caught out by the undercut and sustaining floor damage.
More about Formula 1 break
- Ricciardo reveals how Alonso chat settled head over F1 break
- McLaren paid Ricciardo to depart a year ahead of his contract expiring
- Ricciardo moves to Red Bull in a third driver role
- Ricciardo’s return to action in the Hungarian Grand Prix
- Fernando Alonso’s career break
- McLaren’s progress and Lando Norris’ performance
- AlphaTauri sacking Nyck de Vries
- Oscar Piastri’s performance in the Hungarian Grand Prix