David Coulthard has wondered if Daniel Ricciardo’s other hobbies and interests have caused him to lose his edge in the world of Formula 1.
Sunday 20 November 2022 marks Ricciardo’s final race with McLaren, who opted to terminate his contract a year before its expiration date after falling short of expectations and showing only brief flashes of his brilliance.
That date could even mark Ricciardo’s last race in Formula 1, with the Australian spending at least the 2023 season on the sidelines as a reserve driver with Mercedes or the former Red Bull team.
But, as many drivers before him have discovered, it’s not always easy to find your way back to the Formula 1 grid once you’ve left it.
As Ricciardo and McLaren bid farewell, Coulthard has spoken at length about Ricciardo’s decline and the possible reasons behind it, as well as how he can go back to being the Ricciardo who was so, so good when he was at the top. his game
“I would say, not that I’m asking, ‘Okay, let’s go back to where you were. How did you live at that time? What was it that filled your mind?’” Coulthard said on the In The Fast Lane podcast.
“Because maybe he’s been more focused on his wine business or spending time in America or whatever.
“But something has definitely changed that doesn’t allow him to deliver that absolute honey badger performance like we’ve seen in the past.”
“I think he needs to step back, take stock and rediscover whatever worked for him in the early part of his Formula 1 journey.
“He is young enough and fit enough to be able to go back to that place.
“Success brings many things and brings baggage. Maybe some of that luggage is really expensive designer luggage, but it still has to be carried. For some people, that slows them down.”
Even through all the ups and downs Ricciardo has experienced, his bold and bright personality has continued to shine through and will play a big part in why he will be missed more than others.
But, Coulthard pointed out that an infectious personality only gets you so far in Formula 1.
“Obviously it’s been painful for all of us to see his problems at the McLaren,” he continued.
“Daniel was one of the most exciting drivers to watch race, one of the last to brake late, always capable of making big overtakes.
“Having left Red Bull a grand prix winner, Renault’s experiment didn’t pay off big. A victory with McLaren, of course, in the Monza race where Lando [Norris] it was second is not the consistency of results that we were used to.
“The performance relative to Lando doesn’t lie. No matter how fondly we all speak of Daniel, he’s definitely a fan favourite, this is a game of timing, not a matter of personality.
“It’s good if you have a good personality if you’re delivering, but ultimately that’s not enough to keep you in Formula 1.
“Hopefully he will regroup, come back and show us the Daniel we all fell in love with, who was an Australian of high achievement, hard racing, straight talk and a big smile.
“I hope to see Daniel again in Formula 1.”
All hope is not lost for Daniel Ricciardo
It’s hard to argue with any of Coulthard’s latest comments about Ricciardo. This is a driver who unfortunately gave McLaren no choice but to start evaluating new options ahead of schedule and a break, albeit risky, will do him a lot of good.
2023 will be a year of self-reflection for Ricciardo, who, at just 33, still has plenty of miles left in the tank if he can secure another Formula 1 run again.
But rather than speculate on where it all went wrong for the eight-time Grand Prix winner, we’ll have to wait patiently for Ricciardo to come home, power down, and then reassess.
Ricciardo’s directness and honesty in interviews means we’ll eventually get the answers we all want to know.
However, one thing is certain at this stage: Formula 1 will miss him.
Read more: Daniel Ricciardo addresses latest rumors about Red Bull’s reserve role