Daniel Ricciardo feels Scuderia AlphaTauri can no longer be regarded as a junior team to Oracle Red Bull Racing, particularly now they have an experienced driver line-up.
Ricciardo joined the team midway through the 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season after AlphaTauri opted to drop Nyck de Vries, and although he missed a handful of races after breaking his wrist in a practice crash in the Netherlands, he was able to return for the final stretch of races and score their best finish of the year in Mexico City.
The Australian says the team listened to him when he offered them feedback about the feeling in the car, and most of the time they were able to react to his suggestions, and it cannot be coincidence that results improved for the team once he jumped on board.
“I feel like we’re going in the right direction,” Ricciardo is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com. “And honestly, everything I fed back to the team, I feel like they’ve actioned or done their best to make it happen or make it work.
“So honestly I can’t ask for too much more at the moment. It’s obviously now just how quickly can we get new parts on the car, and this and that.
“I would say, I don’t want to be like patronising, but their heads are in the right place. I feel like we’re all kind of meeting in the right place and looking ahead. I think they value the experience I have, and I think that’s really important kind of moving forward, and they’re motivated.
“I feel like this is not a junior team anymore. And I think with a lot of plans for next year hopefully we can prove that on track and get more points, like the last few races.”
Ricciardo says the team are in the process of rebuilding after a couple of seasons sliding down the pecking order, but the best thing was coming back to the team and them still having confidence in his ability and feedback despite a few years away from the Red Bull family driving firstly for the Renault F1 Team and then the McLaren F1 Team.
“I feel like there’s a lot for me kind of coming back in that’s really exciting,” he added. “I think there’s also a team that is kind of rebuilding, a little bit like how I’ve kind of done this phase in my career. So we’re all kind of on a similar path.
“I would say there’s a lot of confidence, a lot of confidence. And I think Yuki’s season, I think he stepped up a lot and kind of proved himself.
“And I think the team has a lot of faith in me, and they still see me as a Red Bull driver and the results I had, and not as a McLaren driver and the results I had! So we’re all in a good place.”