Daniel Ricciardo: Outgoing McLaren driver says F1 reserve role 'realistic' for 2023
Daniel Ricciardo has been linked with vacant 2023 seats at Alpine, Haas and Williams, along with reserve roles at Red Bull and Mercedes; watch the Singapore GP live on Sky Sports F1, starting with Friday's practice at 10.30am; Sunday's race at 1pm
Last Updated: 30/09/22 11:56am
Daniel Ricciardo says taking a Formula 1 reserve role in 2023 has become a "realistic" possibility for him as he continues to weigh up his options for next season.
After McLaren announced in August the early termination of Ricciardo's contract at the end of the season, the Australian has been linked with vacant seats at Alpine, Williams and Haas, along with reserve roles for front-runners Red Bull and Mercedes.
Ricciardo has had a three-week break since the Italian GP to consider his future, and speaking ahead of this weekend's Singapore GP, he admitted he is wary of taking a drive with a team at the back of field.
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"Let's say my headspace is in the same space," Ricciardo said on Thursday. "I'm still keen to be part of F1 and of course, 'Plan A' would be to be on the grid.
"So nothing's changed but I don't want to just jump at the first kind of seat available. I know the landscape probably changes as well at the end of next year, with contracts and whatever, so I don't want to say remaining patient, but remaining open."
Asked specifically about the likelihood of taking a reserve role over a drive, he added: "It's certainly something that's realistic, yeah.
"That's the two realistic options. It's not to be anywhere else.
"I love other disciplines of motorsport but I don't see myself there. I feel as well if I jump into something like that, and then it closes the door on F1. It kind of feels like I've checked out, and I haven't. So I'm solely focused on F1.
"My team is talking with, I want to say, pretty much everyone, or they're having conversations, so we're just trying to put it all together and figure out what makes the most sense.
"So it's not that they're not calling or they're not interested, I know that sounds… I'm not coming from a place of overconfidence, but we're just doing our due diligence and figuring out what's best.
"I'm trying to kind of see beyond next year, for me of course 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 24."
The 33-year-old's two seasons with McLaren peaked with victory at last year's Italian GP, but for the most part he has been clearly outperformed by team-mate Lando Norris, while the team have rarely been able to compete for podiums.
Ricciardo secured seven wins with Red Bull between 2014 and 2018 before leaving to join Renault, with whom he spent two disappointing seasons before joining McLaren, and admits the contrast between the level of competitiveness during those stops is impacting his latest decision.
"Having been through it the last few years, I know there is something that you fight for," he said. "Monza last year was the best-case scenario in fighting for a win, but what fighting at the front does, when you've had that taste, it's real and that's ultimately where I want to be.
"So I guess I don't want to just race to race, I want to race with a true belief or understanding that I could be back on the podium ultimately."
Steiner: Haas not waiting on Ricciardo
Haas team principal Guenther Steiner, who has previously expressed his interest in acquiring Ricciardo's services for the 2023 season, insisted he wasn't waiting on the Australian's decision but also refused to rule out hiring him.
"I don't want to speak for Daniel. I think he's weighing up what he wants to do," Steiner said.
"That is my biggest thing, he needs to weigh up what he wants to do, if he decides to join a team at the back of the grid, that doesn't mean he cannot move on up the grid, and I'm sure he didn't mean what he said in a negative way.
"He needs to find out what he wants to do in life, and that will take him time, because this is a big decision for his career, and I'm sure he takes it very carefully what he wants to do.
"I'm not waiting for him to answer what he wants to do, just to clarify that.
"Once he decides what he wants to do, he will let everybody know, but I don't know and I think he doesn't know at the moment."