While there are plenty of sad faces not to see Daniel Ricciardo on the grid in 2023, former F1 executive Mark Gallagher is not one of them as the Australian has “made a vast amount of money.”
For the first time since the 2011 season, the opening race of the 2023 campaign will not have the Honey Badger on the grid after his contract with McLaren was terminated a year early.
He may well be in the paddock in his role as third driver for Red Bull, although team boss Christian Horner suggested that the Australian’s appearances will be fleeting, but the reality is, fans are going to have to get used to life in F1 without the forever-smiling Ricciardo.
There are certainly plenty of fans and colleagues within the paddock who will be sad at his missing presence but former Red Bull, Jordan and Jaguar man Gallagher believes the money Ricciardo has earned will make his departure easier.
“If Formula 1 loses Daniel, if he does disappear from F1, I’ve no doubt he’s going to have a big career elsewhere in motorsport,” Gallagher said on the Flat Chat podcast. “We shouldn’t feel too sorry for him because he’s made a vast amount of money out of Formula 1.
“So from a purely financial perspective, he’s had a very lucrative career and that’s been terrific.
“He will feel that he never quite achieved his potential and that will be the one thing that probably he thinks about as he gets older. There were probably better things he could have done from a purely performance perspective in his career.”
Gallagher suggested Ricciardo had taken a pay day by leaving Red Bull and also remarked that he believed Ricciardo was looking for simplicity in what is an inherently complex sport.
“It’s been a very different experience at McLaren,” Gallagher said. “I read the details of his interviews several times, because the more I read it, the more I felt, ‘wow, Daniel is quite confused.’
“On the one hand, he wants to go back to basics, but then on the other, he talks about the danger of overthinking. He slightly complains about the fact that he’s surrounded by engineers who just talk data and complexity and try this and try that.
“He clearly isn’t enjoying the complexity and yet, the sport is inherently complex. You have to be able to deal with that, which means that as a driver, you need to be able to communicate to the team in a way that they will listen and the team has to be prepared to listen in order for the driver as a human being to get what he needs from the car.
“The car ultimately has to give him confidence. It’s the difference between sitting in the car and being in the car and it feels like Daniel’s not really in the car, because he doesn’t feel at one with it.”