What would you love to do if you only had the time? If you’re seasoned Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo, riding a 110cc motorcycle across the United States is definitely on the list. In late November, 2022, the Australian racer exited McLaren and returned back to Red Bull Racing as a third driver for the 2023 season.
For a driver who’s racked up 32 podiums over the course of his career—and most of those in his first stint with Red Bull—some might wonder what he’s doing. However, according to Ricciardo, what the third driver position really means is that he’ll be doing testing and simulator work, as well as marketing appearances for Red Bull. More than that, though, he'll actually have a lot more time off to evaluate what he wants to do going forward. Does he want to continue in Formula One, or does he want to retire from the sport?
There are a lot of things he wants to do, Ricciardo said on the official Formula 1 podcast, Beyond the Grid. While he isn’t entirely certain what he’ll do when he’s not busy with Red Bull duties over the next 12 months, there is one thing he’s absolutely clear on.
“I’m trying to hold myself accountable for not making an excuse. If I’ve got the time, and it’s something I always wanted to do, then tick that box. Because I think it will also give me what I want to get out of next year, which is that little bit of self-reflection, and doing some fun little trips or whatever it is,” Ricciardo said.
"One thing I want to do is I want to ride across America on a mini motorbike, basically from New York to L.A. We want to kind of make it an exciting journey, and not go the line of least resistance,” he added.
Beyond the Grid host Tom Clarkson asked if he meant the 110cc bike that Ricciardo spoke about the last time he was on the pod, and Ricciardo said that's exactly it.
“We might have to bore them out a bit,” Ricciardo laughed. “The path is still yet to be decided, but it’s something … I remember, I said for so many years when I was young, ‘when I eventually stop racing and get a bit of time, I want to road trip around America.’ And that’s kind of turned into –I think a theme as well, next year—as much as I want to do a lot of exciting things—I also want to take the chance of having a year off to slow down. And I think also, what a 110 going across America would symbolize is slowing down, and just taking everything in.”
“We’re always thinking about getting somewhere as quick as we can, getting the job done, getting out, and it’s like no, I want to soak everything in, and just be. Just go back to basics, and appreciate all the little things, and also the unknown,” he continued.
“Of course, we’ll plan out the trip, and the legs, and that, but … okay, what’s that town like? What are we going to come across along the way? Just the whole unknown is gonna be so exciting. So these are little … actually, that’s quite a big box, and it’s something I want to tick. And I’m sure there will be nights when I’m just staring at the stars, and I could get emotional, and I could reflect on my career, and I could be thinking about … who knows? But I think that will be very good and quite powerful,” Ricciardo went on.
Will Ricciardo post any of his trip on his social media channels, or perhaps even his YouTube channel? He also talked about possibly doing a phone detox in the next 12 months, so it’s difficult to say—but here’s hoping we get to see it, particularly after watching this video of minibike training with Sete Gibernau.