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Daniel Ricciardo: McLaren driver not 'too proud' to take reserve role to stay in F1 in 2023

"Even if it's a reserve, I don't want to be too proud to say I'm too good for that," says Daniel Ricciardo of his prospects for 2023; Haas and Williams appear Australian's moSt realistic options to stay on the grid next season

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Nico Rosberg and Paul Di Resta discuss what's gone wrong for Daniel Ricciardo and his options for 2023

Daniel Ricciardo has admitted that he would be open to taking a reserve driver role with one of Formula 1's top teams in 2023, and believes he can get back to winning ways despite his current "adversity".

Ricciardo's stock has taken a big hit over the last 18 months with McLaren, with the charismatic Australian having gone from being heralded as one of the sport's greatest drivers to having his contract terminated by his current team in favour of a young rookie, Alpine youngster Oscar Piastri.

Now a free agent, Ricciardo, an eight-time race winner, still wants to remain in F1 but says it will only be for the right project - though his competitive options are slim with Haas and Williams seemingly his realistic suitors.

Ricciardo has, though, opened the door to an unexpected avenue in 2023, that of becoming a reserve driver for a top team before hopefully returning to the grid full-time the following season.

"I'm pretty open minded with any scenario," Ricciardo said at the Dutch GP when asked if he could slot into Red Bull, Ferrari or Mercedes' stables.

Daniel Ricciardo

"I think there's pros and cons with all of it. There's pros with having some time off as well, currently the 18 months I've had has been more challenging than not so maybe some time away would be good.

"But then also staying active is good. That's why I kind of want to hear everything. Even if it's a reserve, I don't want to be too proud to say I'm too good for that.

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"I just want to hear everything and see what makes sense. It could be something that sets me up better for the future and next year may be one of those years where I need a bit of patience."

Ricciardo open to offers - but only in F1

Ricciardo knows he has interested suitors for 2023 but said he was getting September's triple header - which concludes with this weekend's Italian GP live on Sky Sports F1 - out of the way before starting to consider moves.

There are five seats currently available on the grid for next season, although the best seat available at Alpine looks set to go to Pierre Gasly of AlphaTauri, who want to sign Colton Herta.

The other seats are at Alfa Romeo, Haas and Williams.

Speaking to media at Zandvoort, Ricciardo appeared to be opening up to longer term deals compared to his more dismissive tone the previous weekend in Belgium.

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"I still definitely have the ability to love a project," he said. "But of course if there's this longer project, and this one where you're going to win tomorrow, of course I'm going to go for the quick wins.

"They are things I will definitely give some thought to. I don't also want to be stubborn or short sighted and be like, 'ah no I'm not interested in that', I will give everything its respected thought.

"From 2017, every two years I've been with a different team. I don't want to just sign something and think, wait now something else is there for 2024. So it's probably not as simple as just getting somewhere on the grid next year.

"It can go probably in many different directions so I don't think it needs an immediate decision. It's going to be about what's best for me."

But he has reaffirmed that he is only interested in F1.

"I wouldn't give up on F1," he said. "if it means I'm not on the grid next year, I'll certainly try to find a way to be on there in 2024.

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"It's honestly the only racing I'm really interested in at the moment, my mindset is still: I'm an F1 driver.

"I am proud of what I've done but I still feel there's a bit more to show, to give. I wouldn't race another category next year."

Ricciardo: Success will be all the more sweet

Ricciardo also insisted he knows he can "get back to the level that I know", with a difficult year and a half at McLaren alongside Lando Norris making his Red Bull and Renault form seem a long time ago.

"It's a shame that that's not me," he said when told of former Red Bull boss' Christian Horner's comments that he wasn't the same driver. "I haven't been able to show my true self often enough in the last 18 months."

Ricciardo said he had taken inspiration from Red Bull driver Sergio Perez, who looked set to leave the sport at the end of 2020 before landing a Red Bull drive and winning races not too long after.

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Jean-Eric Vergne has been perplexed with the struggles of his former teammate Daniel Ricciardo since joining McLaren

"Winning makes me happy," he added. "I know I've got a bit of a road ahead to get back there but I think all those things are still possible and that fire in my gut is still there.

"For sure it's been hurt at times over the last couple of years, but it hasn't gone away.

"I know in my gut, if I still feel I can do it and I still want it, then I'll find a way to get back.

"Ultimately it comes down me, not saying I have every option but if I still want to do it, I think I can still. It's obviously adversity so you do certainly feel it, but I always feel like success is all the more sweet."

Sky Sports F1 pundits on Ricciardo: 'Risk to sign him'

Nico Rosberg

"I really feel for Daniel. To get paid to leave, for a young guy to take your seat, it's tough mentally.

"Of course now he's driving for his future in Formula 1. It's really really hard. He was fighting Max Verstappen when he was at Red Bull, he beat Sebastian Vettel fair and square in the same car when Sebastian was a four-time world champion. Now he's struggling so much and you don't understand it as a driver. It's really difficult.

"I think in hindsight maybe one or two decisions could have been different in his career, staying at Red Bull could have been the best in hindsight.

"But then do you want to be alongside Max Verstappen who might end up being one of the greatest of all time? It's just the form at the moment. McLaren is a decent place to be and his pace is not there."

Paul Di Resta

"I hope it's a dip in form but it would take a few things to fall in place for Daniel to remain in Formula 1. He may have to take a year out. Daniel's too good to sit on the sidelines, but at the same time the performance at the moment, it's just not working. I can't understand how he can't turn it around.

"I think on basis of where he is at the moment, it's a huge risk to sign him. I think where Alpine are going, Pierre Gasly is the right choice.

"Probably what will haunt him more than anything, were the decisions he made. Daniel as a person is not the same in my eyes as a few years ago."

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