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Formula 1

Ricciardo gives update on 2023 F1 reserve role chances

by Edd Straw
4 min read

Daniel Ricciardo says talks are ongoing about a potential Formula 1 reserve driver role in 2023 as he works to lay the foundations for a racing return in 2024.

The McLaren driver admitted at Suzuka earlier this month that he won’t be on the grid next year, but remains determined to continue his F1 career the following season.

There were suggestions on Saturday at Austin that he had agreed a reserve deal for next year with one of F1’s bigger teams, potentially his former employer Red Bull.

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But Ricciardo says emphatically that he does not have a deal in place even though he is working on the possibility.

“I don’t,” he said when asked by The Race if he has a reserve driver role lined up for next season.

“For now, everything’s just rumours. Am I talking? Yes, but there’s no pen on paper or anything like that.”

Any reserve role Ricciardo takes would likely have to be with one of F1’s big three teams, especially given F1’s fourth and fifth placed teams – Alpine and McLaren – rejected him for 2023.

A move into the Red Bull camp would be a surprise given he left there at the end of 2018 and the team would not have a race seat vacancy before 2025 given the two-year deal Sergio Perez agreed earlier this year.

Mercedes and Ferrari could potentially have capacity for Ricciardo as a reserve, although the former is the only team that could have a race seat space in 2024 given Lewis Hamilton is out of contract at the end of next year. However, recent indications are that Hamilton is keen to continue in the longer term.

Ricciardo also confirmed that he expects to “still be around” in F1 next season given his determination to make a comeback in the future.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship United States Grand Prix Preparation Day Austin, Usa

This would fit in with a reserve role is it would allow him to attend some races and potentially take what limited testing opportunities are available.

“I will still be around because I still have ambitions for 2024, so I won’t completely disconnect from the sport,” he said.

“But obviously nothing’s guaranteed for ’24. I don’t have a seat that I can say I’m going to definitely be driving, but I’ll still be around and trying to put work in to be back.”

Ricciardo also stressed that even with uncertainty about 2024, “I’m better off sticking to the plan I have and aiming for something else” next year rather than pursuing a race seat next year, with Haas the only team yet to have confirmed its second driver.

He has said repeatedly that his sole focus is F1 and that he has no intention of racing in other categories next season.

But he specifically ruled out the possibility of making a move into IndyCar full-time, seemingly for the long term given he says he does not want to race on ovals.

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“Ovals scare me,” said Ricciardo when asked why he does not plan to race in IndyCar if he can’t get an F1 seat.

“My Formula 1 career-slash-ambition is not over, so that’s really first and foremost.

“I don’t want to deviate, I would say primarily for that reason. But also, ovals: no.

“Ten years ago I would have said yes, but I’m OK to admit that I’m not OK with ovals.”

He said that while racing in IndyCar on a road/street course programme, as old F1 rival Romain Grosjean did in 2021 before expanding to a full season this year, does look “fun”, he has not entertained the possibility because of his focus on F1.

He added that “the romanticising part of it, America and all that, would be fun but it’s more of a fantasy”.

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