Daniel Ricciardo claims his role as the third driver for Red Bull in 2023 will tell if he truly wants to return to the grid in 2024. The Australian lost his McLaren seat to compatriot Oscar Piastri after two unsuccessful seasons with the Woking-based team.
Daniel Ricciardo explained his predicament on the In The Fast Lane podcast, saying:
"I would be very, very surprised if I watch races, especially when I’m at the track, and I’m not wishing I was out there and not wishing I was competing and stuff like that. I think that’s also the beauty of next year and having that time off, it’ll give me that hard answer, you know, [of] what I truly want and also I could watch round one and I’ll be like, ‘I don’t want to sit out this whole year’, and then that will just build into something probably really positive for me over the course of ’23."
Ricciardo could benefit from a break from the grid in 2023 as he will have time to ask himself some tough questions. The Australian driver claims watching the grid take off in Bahrain next year will tell him whether or not he wants to return to the grid in a full-time capacity the following year. If he feels like he wants to make his return in 2024, then realizing that early on in the 2023 season might be extremely beneficial from a planning perspective. Meanwhile, the eight-time Grand Prix winner will help develop the 2023 Red Bull car with his former team.
Daniel Ricciardo has advice for his McLaren replacement
Daniel Ricciardo has words of advice for his McLaren replacement Oscar Piastri. The Australian driver thinks his compatriot should try and absorb as much as he can with the Woking-based team, acting like a 'sponge'.
Speaking on the Beyond the Grid podcast, Ricciardo advised Piastri on being with McLaren, saying:
"I think just go out and drive. I know that sounds like a really lazy response, but it's just... go out and drive. Learn, be a sponge, but drive. Don't set the bar too high for yourself. If you end up doing better than maybe what you thought, awesome, but just take it race by race. As long as you're learning and you feel you're improving every race, then I think that's all you can kind of ask for yourself."
McLaren opted to go with F2 champion Oscar Piastri instead of Daniel Ricciardo for the 2023 season after the Honey Badger failed to impress in his two years with the outfit. The eight-time race winner will now return to his former team Red Bull and take on the role of a reserve driver.
Ricciardo will once again play a pivotal role in Red Bull's trajectory, as simulation testing is essential for teams to get a better picture of how the car behaves. The driver, however, has confirmed that a racing seat is not a part of his contract for 2024, leading to widespread heartbreak for his fans.