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Ricciardo: AlphaTauri no longer a junior F1 team

Daniel Ricciardo says that his AlphaTauri Formula 1 outfit is “not a junior team anymore” as it heads into 2024 with two experienced drivers and a new identity.

Daniel Ricciardo, AlphaTauri AT04

Daniel Ricciardo, AlphaTauri AT04

Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda represent the most experienced driver line-up that the team has employed since its first season as Toro Rosso in 2006.

Owner Red Bull has reaffirmed its commitment to moving the Faenza organisation up the grid under the new management team of CEO Peter Bayer and team principal Laurent Mekies.

A new name and title sponsorship package will be made public in the coming days when the FIA reveals the official entry list for next year’s World Championship.

“I feel like we're going in the right direction,” said Ricciardo. “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."

Daniel Ricciardo, AlphaTauri

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Daniel Ricciardo, AlphaTauri

Ricciardo is upbeat about the changes that the team is undergoing, with new American sponsors part of its new identity.

"I feel like there's a lot for me kind of coming back in that's really exciting,” he said. “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."

While the team just lost out to Williams in the battle for seventh place in the 2023 World Championship, Ricciardo says it wasn’t too much of a blow given its lowly position in the first half of the year.

"I obviously wasn't on board for the first part of the season,” he said. “But the way the team turned it around, the updates, and then I would like to think Yuki and myself pushed each other a little bit, and that was positive for the team.

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“So I think there's a lot that the team can kind of be excited for moving into next year. Of course, seventh would be nice, but a few races ago, we were talking about not finishing 10th.

"So the seventh was kind of a bonus. And it gives us a little bit more to fight for next year."

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