Ricciardo ‘at peace’ with Formula 1 future
By Mat Coch
Friday 30th September, 2022 - 7:00am
Daniel Ricciardo is at peace with whatever his Formula 1 future may be.
The Australian is likely to be absent from the grid next season after agreeing to the early termination of his contract with McLaren.
With limited opportunities available, and other drivers seemingly ahead of him in the queue to fill them, Ricciardo looks set to face a year on the sidelines.
A sabbatical is one of three options under consideration, the other two being a continued push for a race drive or moving into a Reserve Driver position.
“I guess I’ll say I’m still keen to be part of F1,” Ricciardo affirmed.
“Plan A will be to be on the grid, so nothing changed, but I don’t want to just jump at the first seat available.
“I know the landscape probably changes as well [at the] end of next year with contracts and whatever.
“I’m just still discussing it. I don’t want to say remaining patient but remaining open.”
Alpine, Haas, and Williams all technically have openings, though Ricciardo’s name has not been seriously connected with any of the three in recent weeks.
Instead, the 33-year-old has been linked with a Reserve Driver role at Mercedes, where Lewis Hamilton is out of contract at the end of next season.
Indications are that the seven-time world champion will remain in F1 beyond his existing deal.
“To be honest, my team is talking with pretty much everyone, or they’re having conversations,” Ricciardo said.
“We’re just trying to put it all together and figure out what makes the most sense.
“It’s not that they’re not calling or they’re not interested,” he added of the fact he’s not been linked to the available drives.
“I’m not coming from a place of overconfidence, but we’re just doing our due diligence and figuring out what’s best because trying to see beyond as well next year.
“I want to be racing but I also don’t want to just look at the next 12 months and not look at the next one.
“The conversations of course are private,” he added of what he is hearing from teams.
“But I will say that there’s still a lot of goodness out there, or positivity or, I don’t know, like compliments.
“I think a lot of people have been in the sport for years, they’ve seen how it works.
“Of course, there’s a saying; you’re only as good as your last race. But I think a lot of them have appreciated that it’s not like I’ve forgotten how to do this.
“I’ve had some nice words put towards me, which also fills me with confidence to still want to keep at it.”
Ahead of this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, Ricciardo spent time at home in Perth, reconnecting with family and switching off from the world of Formula 1.
“After Monza we did a bit of sim and some factory stuff, but then I got to get home,” he explained.
“And it was kind of just nice being around family and switching off.
“Spent some time at the farm and even just doing fun things like riding bikes and just being a bit of a kid again.
“That sort of stuff’s cool, but even getting back in the paddock today, I saw my engineer Tom and felt like I hadn’t seen him for a while. I was like, I missed him.
“A little bit of time away is powerful – reminds you how much you miss it,” he added.
“That’s where I’m kind of, with next year, like okay, if I’m not racing, then I feel like there could be a blessing in all that.
“It could make me start foaming at the mouth, you know, wanting to get back.
“That’s why I’m pumped to be on the grid again, but I’m also seeing positives if that’s not the case.
“So that’s why I want to use the world like at peace with whatever is going to happen in ’23, because I feel like everything’s going to happen for a reason and that all these things will make sense
“So having a couple weeks off was good, certainly just getting some headspace, clarity, all those things.”