Daniel Ricciardo has admitted a reserve role with a top team is one of the “realistic” options in front of him for 2023, but his management team is still speaking to “pretty much everyone” with an available seat.
The outgoing McLaren driver reiterated that staying on the grid remains “Plan A” for him next season, but added that he would not “jump at the first seat available”, as he still holds aspirations of being in a competitive enough car which can put him in contention at the upper end of the field.
But with drives running out – only Alpine, Haas and Williams with potential vacancies as things stand – Ricciardo knows that time is of the essence if he is to stay in Formula 1 next year.
However, he still believes there could be positive aspects about having a year on the sidelines, even if it does make him itch to get back into the sport as soon as possible.
“With next year, if I’m not to be racing, then I feel like there could be a blessing in all that,” Ricciardo said to reporters in Singapore.
“I mean, it could make me fricking start foaming at the mouth, wanting to get back. So 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’m] at peace with whatever’s going to happen in ’23, because I feel like everything’s going to happen for a reason and all these things will make sense. Having a few weeks off was good to get some headspace, clarity, all those things.”
Ricciardo is not just looking at having a ‘holding’ year with a team though, preferring to take a longer term view than that as he searches for the best possible option moving forward, having previously said a year off could see him take “two steps forward” in 2024.
He also ruled out the possibility of taking part in one-off races around the world or in other series, insisting that Formula 1 remains his biggest priority at this stage – and his representatives are on the ball in assessing his choices.
“My team is talking with, I want to say, pretty much everyone, or they’re having conversations,” he said.
“So we’re just trying to put it all together and figure out what makes the most sense… I also don’t want to just look at the next 12 months and not look at the next 24.
“[A reserve role is] certainly something that’s realistic, yeah.
“That’s the two, I would say, realistic options. It’s not to be anywhere else. I love other disciplines of motorsport but I don’t see myself there.
“At least, I feel as though I jump into something like that and then it closes the door in F1. It kind of feels like I checked out and I haven’t. So I’m solely focused on F1 and we’ll see.”