Daniel Ricciardo says he hasn’t given up on trying to secure a race seat in Formula 1 for 2023, but says he isn’t too proud to take year out if the right move isn’t available to him.
The Australian has had his contract terminated a year early by McLaren in a move that will make him a free agent at the end of this season and receive a significant pay-off. The only unconfirmed seats at this stage are at Alpine, Alfa Romeo, AlphaTauri, and Williams, although Zhou Guanyu is expected to be confirmed imminently for another season at Fred Vasseur’s team.
Against that backdrop, and with Alpine testing numerous candidates but understood to not be interested in a return for Ricciardo, the 33-year-old says he has mentally prepared himself for what it would be like to take a year out.
“I’ve certainly accepted if I’m not to be on the grid next year, I’m OK with that,” Ricciardo said. “I’ve accepted that I’m not going to do everything – or my team’s not going to do everything – just to put me on the grid if it’s not right or it doesn’t make sense.
“This has been challenging, and if I am on the grid I want to know that it’s a place that I can enjoy it and feel like I can thrive, like an environment I feel like I can thrive in. Like I said, I don’t want to just jump in a car for the sake of it.
“I’ll try to understand what’s best for next year. Not in an over-confident or cocky way, but if it’s not meant to be then I’m totally OK with that, I’m not going to be too proud. We certainly haven’t given up on it, but that’s kind of where my head’s at at the moment.”
After showing an improved performance at Monza, where he was running at the head of the midfield until retiring late on, Ricciardo fears that’s unlikely to translate to the next race in Singapore.
“I made a comment during the race that the chicane. the low-speed, it felt like the problems we had in Spa with the low-speed and last chicane (were still there), so we still struggle a lot there. I think there’s still some issues that we have and hopefully we can learn a little bit more from that.
“I think we understand why but I’m not sure that we have a quick fix. I don’t think it’s all downforce. There’s a few other things fundamentally that are tricky with us.”