Daniel Ricciardo has categorically ruled out racing in a different category in 2023 — and even said he’s not “too proud” to be a reserve driver again.
McLaren has bought out the Australian from the third and final year of his contract to make room for rookie driver Oscar Piastri.
Ricciardo now faces the realistic possibility of being without a drive in F1 for the first time since his debut year in 2011, with only lower-table teams Haas, Williams and Alfa Romeo likely to have vacancies.
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Speaking to media at the Dutch Grand Prix, Ricciardo said that he’s considering every possible opportunity that would keep his F1 career alive.
That includes long-term projects, short-term deals, or even sitting out a year to target a seat in 2024.
He said that in the latter scenario, he’s even open to becoming a reserve driver again.
Asked about being a reserve at either Red Bull, Ferrari or Mercedes, he said “I’m pretty open minded with any scenario,” according to Sky Sports.
“I think there’s pros and cons with all of it. There’s pros with having some time off as well, currently the 18 months I’ve had has been more challenging than not so maybe some time away would be good.
“But then also staying active is good. That’s why I kind of want to hear everything. Even if it’s a reserve, I don’t want to be too proud to say ‘I’m too good for that’.”
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Ricciardo said that he won’t give up on being an F1 driver though, adding: “If it means I’m not on the grid next year, I’ll certainly try to find a way to be on there in 2024.
“It’s honestly the only racing I’m really interested in at the moment, my mindset is still: ‘I’m an F1 driver’.
“I am proud of what I’ve done but I still feel there’s a bit more to show, to give. I wouldn’t race another category next year.”
Ricciardo said that he’s been “hurt” a number of times during his two seasons at McLaren, where he’s failed to adapt to the car and been heavily upstaged by his teammate Lando Norris.
Nonetheless, he said that he knows “in his gut” that he still has what it takes to be a top F1 driver.
Meanwhile, Sky Sports pundit and former driver Paul di Resta warned teams that signing Ricciardo could backfire given the scars he’s suffered since leaving Red Bull at the end of 2018.
“I think on basis of where he is at the moment, it’s a huge risk to sign him,” di Resta told Sky Sports.
“Probably what will haunt him more than anything, were the decisions he made (leaving Red Bull in 2018).
“Daniel as a person is not the same in my eyes as a few years ago.”