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‘This is the first time I’ve heard’: Daniel Ricciardo speaks his ultimatum bluntly as the ax hangs over his head

Australian F1 star Daniel Ricciardo has insisted he is focusing on himself rather than the noise, amid speculation he is set to be replaced by Liam Lawson.

It’s only three races into the season, but results have been far from what the 34-year-old Australian would have hoped for after losing 0-3 in qualifying and 1-2 in races to teammate Yuki Tsunoda in 2024.

Even Ricciardo’s head-to-head victory was marred by team-order drama where Tsunoda refused to exchange positions until it was too late for the Australian to use his newer tires.

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But Lawson, a 22-year-old New Zealand prodigy, is waiting in the wings with reports released last week by the team. Ricciardo a performance ultimatum during the next two races in Japan and China or be replaced.

“If Ricciardo fails to improve over the next two Grands Prix in Japan and China respectively, Red Bull will make a swap that will see Lawson likely installed in the Racing Bulls seat for Miami and remaining with the team for the rest of the season,” he said. According to the New Zealand Herald report.

However, Planet F1 reported that Ricciardo “is in no danger of losing his seat”.

Lawson’s management team also said that Red Bull had not informed the youngster of such a decision.

Those who have been around F1 for a while know that the rumor mill is constantly churning, but that teams too will deny and deny until they pull the trigger.

But for Ricciardo, that’s all it’s about for now and it’s much more urgent to turn his season around.

“In terms of noise, people say to me, like in the media, ‘Oh, so-and-so said’ – that’s the first time I’ve heard,” Ricciardo told Motorsport.com.

“It’s obviously no disrespect to (the media), but I know I’m in this little process or journey right now and I just need to focus on myself.

“If I let the noise in, it’s going to kind of distract me from the path I’m on.

“I didn’t let any of those negative things creep in.”

The season started with such optimism for Ricciardo, who was looking to push for the seat he once held in the Red Bull team with the pressure on Sergio Perez.

The signs were good during pre-season testing But Ricciardo and Tsunoda have struggled to find rhythm this season, with Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko taking aim at both drivers ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, labeling them both “too slow”.

It was Marko who started the rumor that Ricciardo is closing in on replacing Perez, saying the Australian has a “long-term contract” with the team, excluding him from the Mercedes seat that will be vacated by Lewis Hamilton in 2025.

Jacques Villeneuve, 1997 F1 world champion, who was criticism of Ricciardo Lately, Marko’s comments had destabilized the team somewhat.

Speaking via Online Betting Guide On the disparity between qualifying and race pace for some teams, Villeneuve said Ricciardo did not handle the pressure created by Marko’s comments well.

“Before the departure, Ricciardo was doing a big media campaign about the return of his mojo. Marko was saying there might be a Red Bull seat available,” Villeneuve said.

“This has created a problem inside where the drivers are not driving as smoothly and calmly as last year. This affects the way the races are run.

“There are a lot of internal battles going on that all started with Lewis’ decision. On the chessboard, it was the key. This made it possible to break the deadlock. People are a little more excited and on the edge, which probably also affects the riding a lot because they can see a possible prize.

Ricciardo said he was surprised by the RB’s lack of pace and was focused on keeping his eye on the prize.

“I didn’t expect to start the season like this,” Ricciardo said.

“Last year in Budapest, I drove the car a day before, then I overqualified Yuki and had a really strong race – and without any knowledge.

“And then after having a full pre-season and all that, and all the races last year, I honestly thought this year we would start a lot stronger.

“So there’s something I don’t understand – not just me, but a few people wonder why.

“I think the important thing is that I stay the course.

“It’s not that my head is full of nonsense or anything. Honestly, I feel good.

“And unfortunately, the results didn’t make me feel good.” But deep down, behind the wheel, I feel good and excited and I just want to keep racing.

“And I’m sure I’ll find a little more in myself, and I still believe maybe we’ll find a little something on the car.”

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