Daniel Ricciardo has kept his options open about his F1 future amid Mercedes links, as Lewis Hamilton wants him to see compete than be a reserve.
With the news of Ricciardo losing his McLaren drive to Oscar Piastri after the 2022, it has left a big question mark over his future. He has been linked with a return to Alpine (whom he drove for in their Renault guise), and his name has also been mentioned in terms of driving for Haas and or Williams.
But aside from that, there has been a speculation of Ricciardo being a third driver at Mercedes. However, when asked about his future plans, he was quite open with nothing yet sorted from his side thus far.
“I’m really assessing everything,” said Ricciardo. “In short, I don’t have anything teed up yet. Like, I don’t have anything confirmed. And I think when I do, I’ll be the first to tell you. There’s no reason for me to hold back any information now. There’s no secrets. It’s kind of all open and out there. I’m sure over time, the right thing, whatever that ends up being. will make sense.”
“And I think as well, you know, it’s not just about what’s right for next year, it’s what’s right for my future, you know. It goes beyond 2023. So it’s complex, but when I know you will,” summed up Ricciardo. Sitting beside him, Lewis Hamilton, was quick to voice support for his fellow driver.
When asked about talk of the 33-year-old stepping back to a reserve role, potentially at Mercedes, Hamilton made his feelings clear that Ricciardo should be on the grid. “I think he should be racing, personally,” he said. “I think he’s far too talented and he’s earned the right to be amongst us racing”.
“But of course, if he’s a part of our team that would be great. But I mean, the third role is not really, I think, what’s best for him. I was managing him, he’d be racing,” summed up Hamilton. A recent report advised that should Ricciardo be signed by the Brackley team for 2023, he was seen (possibly) as a replacement for Hamilton in 2024, but lately, Hamilton has been reconsidering his own future.
But Ricciardo reiterated that there’s nothing done. “The truth is I’m keeping every option open for, as I said, not only next year, but for the future. I still don’t know what next year looks like,” he said. “As Lewis said earlier, I do want to be on the grid, I do want to race”.
“I touched on a few weeks ago that, although this has been like, certainly a challenging time in my career, it hasn’t taken the love of the sport away from me and that desire to still be here and still compete. So yeah, obviously many talks or thoughts about next year and beyond that. But as I said, I’m still not sure what that looks like.”
Ricciardo was long touted as one of F1’s best drivers, beating Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull and then challenging Max Verstappen. He still performed well after a shock move to Renault, but his reputation has taken a knock since joining McLaren, where he has been dominated by Lando Norris.
There is no doubt that he wants to race, he has an impressive CV, most notably from his time at Red Bull from 2014 to 2018. A shock move to Renault for a two year stint saw some impressive performances while his two seasons at McLaren have been largely disappointing, despite winning at Monza 12 months ago.
Here’s Daniel Ricciardo on speaking with Mark Webber, Oscar Piastri