Daniel Ricciardo has had a shocker of a year… But the beleaguered Formula 1 driver is confident that a return to form is on the cards ahead of the 2022 Italian Grand Prix thanks to the rejuvenating power of Italian cuisine.
Speaking to the media ahead of the race, the eight-time Formula 1 Grand Prix winner said “I’d love to say it would be fine for a podium but I think we know the truth at the moment [about] where we are. But one thing guaranteed is the pizza. That’s good.”
“I don’t know where I’ll finish on Sunday. But I know the pizza will be delicious. That’s what I’ve been missing. Maybe that’s the winning recipe.”Daniel Ricciardo
Obviously, Danny Ric’s just trying to put a nice spin on things, but there’s at least some cause for his optimism.
Despite otherwise struggling with his new car and team at McLaren, ‘The Honey Badger’ actually won the 2021 Italian Grand Prix at Monza last year: his first win since the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix and McLaren’s first win since the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix.
The win was an enormous vindication for Ricciardo at the time – but it hasn’t stopped McLaren from ending his contract early, with the 33-year-old set to leave the team at the end of the 2022 season to make way for 21-year-old wunderkind Oscar Piastri.
Still, Ricciardo recovered from a slump in form last year to win big in Monza – he could do it again! Especially if he’s fuelled by pizza…
Ricciardo is a notoriously huge fan of pizza, with the Italian-Australian driver having frequently Tweeted about his love of the dish over the years. He even did a cheeky little pizza-making class last year at Monza for the cameras – a classic little press activity F1 teams make their drivers do every time they race in Italy.
The latest talk in the F1 paddock is that Ricciardo might take a year off from the sport in 2023 and return in 2024 rather than try and find a seat at another team. This was already one of the most likely scenarios mooted for the under-fire driver, but speculation fired up that this indeed is the route he’s taking after the Dutch Grand Prix.
Ricciardo was caught with the hot mic chatting with Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez where he said something to the effect of “I’ll take a year off, then come back in 2024.”
Ricciardo might have just been suggesting to Pérez that this was just one of a few options he’s considering, so who knows? Hopefully he doesn’t just spend a year off eating pizza, though – hit the gym, get fighting fit, and get back to form for 2024, we say.
Speaking of, check out Daniel Ricciardo’s workout regime below.