Ricciardo braced for crucial Formula One season


Daniel Ricciardo is aware he is facing a make-or-break season with Red Bull, who are hoping to return to winning ways in Formula One.

Last season was disappointing for Ricciardo and Red Bull after the Australian driver failed to win a race, only earning a place on the podium twice as he finished eighth behind team-mate Daniil Kvyat in the drivers' championship.

Ricciardo's struggles were in stark contrast to 2014, when he claimed three races to finish third in the world championship.

With Mercedes likely to dominate again in 2016 and Ferrari threatening to pull clear of the chasing pack, Ricciardo admitted the next 12 months are decisive.

"I think for both of us this year is a big one," Ricciardo told Sky Sports.

"We all feel and hope it is that turning point for Red Bull to really step back into winning ways and re-establish ourselves as a team that can win a championship in the very near future, not the next five years.

"For me, I'll be 27 this year. I still see myself in the sport, all going well, for another 10 years, but things do move quickly. [Red Bull owner] Dietrich Mateschitz pointed out last year he wasn't going to hang around if we weren't competitive.

"We don't really want to muck around and be running fourth or fifth place in the constructors' for too much longer."

Ricciardo, who has been linked with a move to Ferrari in the past, added: "If I let the frustration get the best of me, I am not going to be a wanted man for very long.

"I still have to make sure I maintain my commitment and motivation for the sport and make sure I'm still respected by not just teams and drivers but everyone around.

"You sadly get used to understanding that not always the best car wins, but I figure when I have the tools again, I'll run with it."