Kevin Magnussen admitted he missed Formula 1 after spending a year away while Daniel Ricciardo revealed that being away from the sport gave him a new perspective.
Both Kevin Magnussen and Daniel Ricciardo spent some time away from F1 before their current stints, the former spent 2021 on the sidelines after being fired from Haas, before the team brought him back in 2022 to replace Nikita Mazepin.
As for Ricciardo, he lost his seat at McLaren at the end of 2022, and spent six moths in a reserve role at Red Bull Racing, before being given the nod to replace Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri from Hungary 2023 onwards.
Facing the media in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix FIA hosted press conference, both drivers were asked about how it felt bein away, then coming back.
Magnussen went first, he said: “I think for me, it was different when I came back in a way. Having been out of the sport – not completely, I was still racing but in sports cars, and I think just getting away from it, seeing it from the outside, thinking about it from the outside.
“And then coming back in. I think, in those years before that, maybe I’d lost a little bit of love for Formula 1. I think you get through the junior categories and it’s one thing, and you get to Formula 1 and it’s different. For some people, of course, they come in, you know, to Formula 1 after their junior career, and they just get straight into success there.
“But I didn’t, I had many years, I had six seasons or something before that break, of not winning at all. So, I think I’d maybe fallen out of love a little bit, and then kind of had that year out, missed it, and then came back and had a new sort of appreciation for it,” the Dane explained.
As for Ricciardo who had a shorter break from F1, he added: “I think Kevin made… yeah, a lot of those feelings were felt for me as well.
Ricciardo putting all his energy in the new chance
“I think being away from it, yes, it’s really that. It should be the coolest thing that we do, right? But when you’ve done it your whole life, and obviously, when you go through… when you’re winning, it’s kind of easy, but when you’re not, obviously, you go through some other challenging moments where you can become a little bit frustrated with it.
“And then obviously, on a competitive side, your confidence takes a hit,” the Australian continued. “So, then you’re kind of asking yourself more questions. And then, I think that also makes you question the love for it, then maybe you’re not as hungry and the other sides of the sport, in terms of preparation, and I think having the time gave me the answer of how much I do love it, ultimately. How much it means to me.
“And I think that’s also where, coming into now, I feel like I got a second chance, a second wind, where it’s like, okay, I want to make sure this is my one and only priority, I’m going to put all my energy into this. Because I just don’t want to walk away one day and be like, ‘could have done more’ or, ‘that career slipped a little bit out of my fingers’. I’d hate to feel that.
“So, yeah, gave me a new perspective, which is really cool. I’d say I’d recommend it to everyone! I mean, obviously everyone’s on their own kind of path but I can’t believe how much I’ve enjoyed the second half the season.
“It’s, it’s pretty crazy what six months can do,” the winner of eight grands prix concluded.
Magnussen finished the 2023 F1 season 19th in the standings while Ricciardo was 17th after only taking part in seven races.