Daniel Ricciardo says he may now “quit F1” after all

Australian Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo is set to complete his 12 consecutive season in the sport since his inaugural drive for HTR back in 2011. Yet it seems probable the likeable Daniel will not be on the grid for the 2023 season. With just Haas and Williams looking for find drivers for F1’s next season, Ricciardo has ruled himself out of the reckoning. This despite Haas team principal Gunther Steiner practically begging the Aussie this week to ‘give me a call’.

Speaking to The Race at the Japanese GP, Ricciardo revealed his concerns over joining a lower midfield F1 team

“It could be I feel awesome, but I’m fighting for P16 and 17. And everyone knows when you’re at the back, you can be doing such a kick-ass job. But if you’re still getting P16, there’s still just a lot of risk with that.”



Driving for McLaren F1 has been “a grind”

Ricciardo feels his time at McLaren has taken its toll on him mentally given his poor relative performance compared to Lando Norris who is in effect driving the same car.

“I’ve been through the grind for the last 18 months. And it’s like, I don’t want to risk just putting myself in a position where I’m going to just be at the back and be like, ‘what am I still doing here?’. I don’t want to resent the sport in a way. I kind of love it too much.”

Whilst a year out may refresh Ricciardo mentally TJ13 recently analysed his options for 2024 are unlikely to include a top team drive and the kind of seats available will be with teams in a similar position to Haas and William are at present.



Ricciardo’s rise to the top of F1

The slow decline in Ricciardo’s career may well on reflection be solely due to the choices Ricciardo himself has made.

After trundling around at the back of the grid in his HRT during the 2011 season, Daniel was recruited by Red Bull to drive for their junior team Toro Rosso alongside Jean-Eric Vergne (JEV) who was in his rookie year.

Toro Rosso were a back of the great team for the 2012/13 seasons finishing jus ahead of the ‘new teams’ and Williams (2013) but detached from the midfield. Ricciardo and JEV performed similarly each finishing one place above the other in alternate years.

With the dawn of the new V6 hybrid era in 2014, Mark Webber decided to retire and so a race seat in the Red Bull senior team became available. Fans were divided in the forums over who deserved the promotion more from Toro Rosso, Ricciardo or JEV.



Red Bull senior team call up

It was eventually Ricciardo who got the call to join Vettel in Milton Keynes and the Australian.

Despite being disqualified during the first round in Australia, Riccardo performed well finishing P3 in the drivers’ championship behind the all conquering Mercedes pair of Hamilton and Rosberg. Daniel won races in Canada, Hungary and Belgium while Vettel suffered his first winless season for 4 years.

Quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel was 71 points behind his new team mate and finished a distant P5 in the drivers’ title race.

Many F1 observers believe the beating handed out by Ricciardo to Vettel during the 2014 season help make his decision to leave when Ferrari came calling for 2015.



Daniel sees off Kvyat

Ricciardo’s new team mate for 2015 was the Russian driver promoted from Toro Rosso. Red Bull had a poor year with power unit problems repeatedly blighting the season. Ricciardo scored the team’s only podium with a P3 in Hungary though Kyat pipped the Australian to P7 in the drivers’ championship by 3 points.

The Russian driver survived just the first 4 races in 2016 before being relegated back to Toro Rosso in a switch that saw Max Verstappen join Ricciardo at Red Bull Racing.

Verstappen was quickly on the pace of his team mate, but some erratic driving errors and three DNFs saw the young Dutch driver finish 52 points behind Ricciardo in P5 while Daniel ended up just behind the mighty Mercedes pair in P3.

Ferrari replaced Red Bull as the second best team the following year, but Ricciardo again beat Verstappen in the drivers’ championship. Then finally over the course of the 2018 season, Verstappen accumulated enough points to finish P4 while Ricciardo was 2 places further back.



Ricciardo loses the Red Bull love

Yet it was an incident during the Azerbaijan GP that appeared to settle Daniel’s fate rather than losing out in the championship to Verstappen.

As Ricciardo hunted down Verstappen along the long start/finish straight, the Dutch driver jinked to block his team mate and Ricciardo misjudged the distances running into the back of Max’s car. There was a huge Collins and both drivers were eliminated from the race.

In the post race media interviews, Christian Horner appeared more critical of Ricciardo and Verstappen. 

Niki Lauda on the other hand was candid with the media: “It is 70 per cent Verstappen, and 30 per cent Ricciardo,” Lauda said. “If you move on him all the time where can the poor guy go?”

Ricardo has a massive 8 retirements during that 2018 season and finished 79 points behind his team mate at the end of the year.



Daniel dominates at Renault

Since leaving Red Bull Ricciardo had two satisfactory years at Renault (now Alpine) beating soundly his team mates Nico Hulkenberg and then Esteban Ocon. Daniel established himself as the clear team leader yet surprisingly decided to jump ship for the 2021 season.

Having been promised a brighter future, Ricciardo was lured to McLaren by Zak Brown but he was to come up against a well established Lando Norris as his team mate.

Since joining McLaren Ricciardo has had the worst results compared to a team mate in his F1career. The Aussie has scored just 30% of the points Lando has accumulated and less than a quarter of the teams total so far in 2022.

As its plain to see, Daniel Ricciardo has not been able to get to grips with the “difficult to drive” McLaren F1 car.



McLaren F1 car “difficult to drive”

Lando Norris observed in Austria this year, “I do feel like it’s a difficult car to drive, our car. You know.”

I think our characteristics which it’s also had over the past few years, even Carlos [Sainz, ex-team mate] said it, they’re quite specific and unique so some of the driving styles you need are like not ones you kind of grow up learning, and therefore you have to adapt quite a bit,”

Well McLaren clearly felt Ricciardo had enough time to adapt his driving style and deliver.

Daniel reveals ahead of the US GP in Austin that his ‘year out’ may in fact be his full time retirement from Formula One.

“Maybe I take a year off and I’m like, ‘oh, you know what? I actually don’t want to return’,” Ricciardo admitted to The Race. “Then OK, cool, I’ve got my answer.”

Whatever the outcome of Ricciardo’s sabbatical, the reality is for 2024 his options to drive for a lower midfield team will be similar to those on offer for 2023.

READ MORE: Ricciardo’s 2024 options


One response to “Daniel Ricciardo says he may now “quit F1” after all

  1. That’s about the shape of it, nicely written.
    Pretty clear he doesn’t want a backfield seat but he might feel different next year.

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