SINGAPORE – Daniel Ricciardo admits it may now be “realistic” for him to take on a reserve driver role for 2023 if he wishes to remain in Formula One.
The Australian’s future has been up in the air since August, when McLaren agreed to end his three-year deal 12 months early, before announcing highly touted compatriot Oscar Piastri as Lando Norris’ team-mate. starting next year.
The eight-time race winner claimed he had “no hard feelings” over his dismissal from McLaren, but with just three seats available for next season – one each at Alpine, Haas and Williams – Ricciardo’s chances of remaining a timed driver full in Formula One. look slim
Instead, a reserve driver role could pave the way for another F1 opportunity in 2024, with several key contracts due to expire at the end of next season and a merry-go-round of drivers likely to follow.
“For me, staying in the sport is a realistic place for me next year,” said Ricciardo, when asked if he would consider a role as a reserve driver, following a poor showing in qualifying at the Singapore Grand Prix.
“I know the [F1] The landscape will probably change at the end of next year as well, with contracts and whatever, so I don’t want to just look at the next 12 months and not look at the next 24. I’ll stay open. I’m focused solely on F1 and we’ll see.”
Earlier in the weekend, Ricciardo seemed more optimistic about his chances of landing one of the three full-time seats still vacant.
“Me [management] The team is talking to almost everyone. They are having conversations,” she said. “Plan A is to be in the network [but] we’re just trying to put it all together and figure out what makes the most sense. It’s not that they don’t call or that they’re not interested.
“But let’s just say, I don’t want to just jump into the first available seat. What fighting in the front does, when you’ve had that taste, is real, and ultimately that’s where I want to be, so I guess I don’t want to just [go from] race to race I want to compete with the true conviction and understanding that I can get back on the podium.”
There had also been speculation that Ricciardo could try his hand at another category of racing or even take part in one-off events, such as the Bathurst 1000 Supercars. However, Ricciardo put that speculation to rest by emphatically dismissing it.
“I love other disciplines of motorsport, but I don’t see myself there,” he said. “I feel like if I get into something like that, it closes the door on F1. It’s [would] I feel like I’m gone, and I haven’t.”
Despite his unlikely victory in Italy last year, Ricciardo’s nearly two-year tenure at McLaren has been mostly a struggle. The win at Monza remains his only podium finish for the team, while Norris has always had an advantage over him both in qualifying and on race day.
This year, Ricciardo has managed just four points and sits 14th in the drivers’ standings ahead of the race in Singapore.
But if he doesn’t land a full-time or reserve driver role and 2022 is going to be his last year in Formula One, Ricciardo says he will take a lot of “positives” and won’t regret leaving the sport.
“[I’m] at peace with what is going to happen in 2023, because I feel that everything is going to happen for a reason and all these things will make sense, “he said. “I mean, it could make me foam at the mouth, wanting to go back [but] If I’m not going to run [in F1]So I feel like there could be a blessing in all of that.”