Daniel Ricciardo has announced his professional and personal goals for this year as he watches F1 from the sidelines.
For the first time since 2011, Australian Ricciardo finds himself off the Formula 1 grid after taking on the role of reserve driver with Red Bull for this season following his early exit from McLaren.
The 33-year-old was released a year ahead of the expiry of a three-year contract he had signed with the team after defecting from Renault following two seasons of struggle bar the odd striking result such as his Italian Grand Prix triumph in 2021.
Ricciardo concedes this is the first year, for as long as he can recall, that his goals are not “100 percent about racing and competing”.
In turn, however, that is allowing him to switch focus and devote time to other areas of his life where he has not had the opportunity over the years given his demanding schedule.
With regard to his professional targets, Ricciardo states the priority is “about being a team player at Red Bull”.
Given his past relationship with the team with whom he won seven of his eight grands prix over a five-year period from 2014-2018, Ricciardo claims that whilst he has “a lot of good memories…and it feels really good to be back”, he recognises it is not about him this year.
“It's about the wider team and trying to contribute and help them where I can,” Ricciardo wrote via a post on his LinkedIn page.
“Jumping into the simulator, learning their car, and helping shape the development are all things I'm focused on doing. In turn, that will develop my abilities, my confidence, and my enjoyment behind the wheel.
“It's been a tough couple of years professionally, so there's an element of that competitor in me wanting to remind people that I'm still here, still a professional, and still contributing to success.”
Ricciardo enjoying the luxury of opportunity
Personally, Ricciardo has set himself three specific targets, primarily as he sees this year as “a bit of a luxury to have the opportunity to do things that I've always wanted to and not had the time”.
“I don't want the year to pass me by because if I am racing again next year, I'll wish I'd made the most of the free time whilst I had it,” he said.
To that end, the first of his targets is “travelling on my own terms”.
He said: “It's weird saying this after travelling the world for the last 15 years, but I want to travel more this year.
“For me, I want to hit some destinations and actually experience the country, slow down and become a local.
“So often with the F1 schedule, we're in and out of a country in a few days without seeing anything other than the circuit and the hotel, and it's certainly not a vacation!
“I get so much energy from new countries, new conversations, and new things, so I'm really looking forward to being in control of the destination and the schedule.”
Ricciardo on two wheels
Additionally, he wants to spend more time with the most important people in his life – his family and friends – particularly prioritising “spending more time one-on-one with them, which is something I haven't been able to do for so long.
“They've always supported me and I haven't had the time to invest back in them, and that's something I'm really looking forward to.”
Finally, and perhaps unusually, Ricciardo wants to ‘improve his skills on two wheels'.
Explaining, he said: “People might think I'm joking here but I really want to get better and better on my 110!”
After announcing in December he planned to ride across the United States on a 110cc bike, he added: “I've always enjoyed motorbikes but never really been able to ride much because the luxury of time hasn't been there.
“But I love learning new skills and I think that drive for excellence that I'm used to will carry over into this hobby, too.
“I promise you this is the most fun you can have on two wheels – riding with friends, jumping things, and being out in nature.
“I'm getting excited just thinking about it, so that's me for the year ahead.. lots to look forward to!”