Daniel Ricciardo uses the situation Sergio Perez was in with his career as evidence things can change quickly in Formula 1.
Ricciardo’s future at McLaren has become far more uncertain as a result of the Oscar Piastri saga, Alpine’s reserve driver sensationally revealing he would not be taking Fernando Alonso’s place at the team for 2023 after Alpine had confirmed it in a press release.
For that snub to be logical in any way, it would have to mean Piastri has another contract lined up elsewhere – which is believed to be McLaren.
If confirmation arrives, it would mean Ricciardo’s stint with the team ends a year before his contract expires, the partnership having failed to deliver the performances expected so far.
Daniel Ricciardo saga shows brutal nature of F1
Daniel Ricciardo is facing a year on the sidelines if he cannot secure another F1 seat away from McLaren.
Some question whether Ricciardo will find another team for 2023 to keep him in Formula 1, but he compares this to what Perez went through a couple of years ago after his release from Racing Point.
Perez was released by the team at the end of the 2020 campaign and had no immediate option available to remain on the grid, until Red Bull stepped in to sign him up for 2021.
And having won two races in Red Bull colours, Perez has now been able to earn himself a longer-term deal running until the end of 2024.
Ricciardo believes this shows even when the signs do not look great, that could all soon change.
“I was saying it when I was 27, ‘ah, I’m getting older!’ – in a way, yes, I’m getting older, but I think also I know a bit more about the sport now and I know things take time,” he told Motorsport.com.
“We all believe we can win. So it’s like, well I want to win tomorrow but it’s not always like that. Even now, talking about 2024 or 2025, in a way it’s hard to think that far ahead. But it will come around quickly.
“You also take like little things from if it’s a Perez, when his career looked over and now he’s potentially fighting for a World Championship. The sport can change so quickly.”
But Daniel Ricciardo is not on good form, Sergio Perez was
It is understandable that Ricciardo compares his situation to that of Perez’s in 2020 but ultimately, where Ricciardo is at now, compared to Perez, does not match up.
When Perez left Racing Point, it was following arguably the strongest season of his Formula 1 career, the Mexican a regular points-scorer in a season when he also won his first grand prix, taking the chequered flag at the Sakhir GP. He also scored a P2 finish in Turkey.
Perez finished P4 in the standings, 50 points ahead of team-mate Lance Stroll, so there were absolutely no signs of a decline in form – quite the opposite.
Ricciardo, meanwhile, has regularly trailed his team-mate Lando Norris at McLaren and while he won the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, strong showings like that have been a rarity.
So if Ricciardo does lose his McLaren seat and is on the market for 2023, unless he can return to form in the last nine races of the season teams would be taking a gamble on a 33-year-old driver who has been below his best, not excelling.