Daniel Ricciardo was not surprised by McLaren’s decision to terminate his contract prematurely, as the Australian himself had seen his results fall short during his two seasons at Woking. Indeed the Australian admits now that he saw McLaren’s doubts about his abilities growing as he saw the team become suspicious of his abilities.
From 2023, Daniel Ricciardo will no longer be on the F1 grid after being sacked by McLaren at the end of the 2022 season due to a lack of results on his part. The Australian – who has signed a third driver contract with Red Bull – will therefore spend his first season off the grid for a long time.
Prior to signing with Red Bull as a reserve driver, Daniel Ricciardo had obviously been in talks with a number of teams on the grid to try and secure a starting seat for 2023, but those talks all ended in failure and so the Australian accepted the offer from his former team.
Ricciardo on endurace racing
When asked if he had considered leaving F1 for the endurance championship, the Australian said:
“A race like Le Mans could be interesting, but not the whole season. It would be the same life as today, just with different cars,” explained Daniel Ricciardo in an interview with AMUS.
“I need a break, a trip into the unknown. I won’t be able to plan anything and I’m going to have new experiences, while looking for a chance to come back in 2024. If there is one, I want to be as prepared as possible.”
“I’m keeping one foot in the game, and a year of doing nothing would not be a good plan, because then it would be almost impossible to come back and the time will come when I would like to be on the grid again.”
Red Bull calling
Asked about his fears ahead of starting his new life from 2023 as the third driver at Red Bull after so many years of racing, Ricciardo said, “There is more joy than fear.”
“There is a little bit of fear because I have been a racer for a very long time in my life and I have never done anything else. On the other hand, I’m incredibly curious about what I’m going to do with the time I’m given.”
“We travel the world but we don’t see anything. I want to see a bit of the world. I want to work on my fitness, it’s up to me this time and I want to enjoy the freedom.”
McLaren in doubt of abilities
Reflecting on his split with McLaren, Daniel Ricciardo explained that he could feel the tide turning internally after disappointing results and was therefore not surprised by the team’s decision to terminate his contract prematurely:
“There was already a slight suspicion. I could see my results, and I wasn’t happy with them myself.”
“We ran out of ideas on how to change all this. I could no longer be sure that the contract would be fulfilled to the end. There was a premonition that something was up. The two seasons just weren’t good enough and the team started to have more and more doubts.”
“I always thought I was a good driver, but I have to admit that this McLaren also revealed some of my weaknesses. I’m not perfect, this will help me work on myself.”
“Now I have a year to reflect and work on those weaknesses. During a season it’s incredibly difficult to implement what you’ve learned immediately. Despite all the data, you just have too much to do, you travel from race to race, and you don’t have time to look at your situation from the outside.”
“Sometimes it would be good to take a step back and realise what is wrong. So I think the time off [in 2023] could be a win-win situation for me. Then I have to find the car I can do it in.”
In 2022, Daniel Ricciardo finished twelfth in the drivers’ world championship with 37 points scored, 85 units behind teammate Lando Norris.