Daniel Ricciardo will leave the McLaren Formula 1 team at the end of the 2022 season after two years at Woking during which the Australian driver’s “results failed to meet expectations”, according to CEO Zak Brown. It appears that for the Australian, options simply ran out for a decent seat in 2023.
Officially, Ricciardo is without a seat for the 2023 season and his presence on the F1 grid as a regular is more than uncertain as there are only two places left: one at Haas (to possibly replace Schumacher whose contract is due to expire) and another at Williams.
Haas ‘very interested in Ricciardo’ joining
Haas F1 boss awaits Daniel Ricciardo’s call as the American squad look to improve their chances for the 2023 Formula 1 season.
However, Daniel Ricciardo does not seem very motivated to join a team at the back of the grid after having been at Toro Rosso, Red Bull, Renault and McLaren in his career. However, Haas team boss Guenther Steiner suggested that if Ricciardo changes his mind he should pick up the phone and get in touch.
“If he is interested in us, he should not hesitate to call us. But I wouldn’t go chasing him,” Steiner told AP.
“I want him to decide for himself what he wants to do. I think he’s a good driver, and I don’t know how he got into the situation he’s in now. But I think he has to be honest with himself and decode what he is going to do.”
“For us it would be a great success, because he was a Grand Prix winner and now he is unemployed. He won a race last year [Italian GP], so I rank him as a driver, I don’t know why he’s not performing at the moment, That’s for him to find out.”
Zak Brown predicted Daniel will be out of a race seat rather than drive for Haas
The latest rumours from the paddock suggest that Daniel Ricciardo may eventually accept a reserve driver role at Mercedes until other opportunities open up for him in 2024, while Ricciardo himself has already said he may also consider a gap year outside F1.
Certainly, the Australian has more or less already confessed he won’t be on the grid as a regular driver next year having explained during the last Grand Prix weekend.
“It’s something I’ve certainly evaluated since the summer break,” Ricciardo told Sky F1 of the prospect of not being on the 2023 grid.
“I wanted to give it a few races and the more time that passes, the more I feel like it’s what I need. Albeit as well the opportunities… there’s not really anything in the form of next year!
“It’s part I would like the break and need to reset a little bit, and part 2024 as well, some other things may open up.”
McLaren team boss Zak Brown had predicted that Daniel will be out of a race seat next year, rather than drive for a ‘back of the grid’ team like Haas.
“I think like everyone [is] bummed he won’t be on the grid, because he’s great for the sport and he wants to race,
“He probably could have driven for Williams or Haas is my guess,” added Brown.
“I’m speculating that he doesn’t want to drive for a team that’s ninth or tenth in the championship, which I understand, given his pedigree. But hopefully he’ll come back in 2024” concludes the American team boss.
Alpine closed the door on Ricciardo
Meanwhile, team boss of the French team Alpine (Renault) Otmar Szafnauer has revealed he had discussions with Daniel Ricciardo about a return to the team following the news about his departure from McLaren.
“At the beginning [of the search for a driver] we did have discussions with a few drivers, including Daniel,” Szafnauer told the media during the Japanese Grand Prix weekend.
“[But] Pierre meets the criteria to a tee – he’s experienced, fast and young.
“So when it became evident Pierre was a possibility, we made our short-list even shorter.”
Ricciardo sure he’ll be back in 2024
“I think that there could be some better opportunities in 2024, so that’s really what all this confirms and now where the sights are set,” confessed Ricciardo.
“Certainly the plan is still to be involved in F1.
“It’s kind of like just hitting pause for a little bit, as I see it – and let’s say as far as my F1 career goes the full intention is [to be driving] for ’24.”
Ricciardo no doubt pushing for the Mercedes reserve role with a view to potentially replacing Lewis Hamilton in 2024.