Emotional Ricciardo reveals “a sabbatical” from F1 is possible

Daniel Ricciardo has revealed that he could step away from F1 entirely in the 2023 season after his exit from McLaren.
Daniel Ricciardo (AUS)
Daniel Ricciardo (AUS)

His long-rumoured departure after the 2022 season was confirmed ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix - he had been contracted for next season too, but an agreement was found to end the deal early.

Alpine and Haas have been linked with adding Ricciardo to their 2023 driver line-up but the veteran , when asked if he could take “a sabbatical”, said: "If it made sense, then yes. 

“It's the only racing that I am interested in but as I said if the stars don't align and it doesn't make the perfect sense, then I am willing to.

"I still love this sport. I still love it and I still want to do it in the right place. If I am here, I want to be here for a purpose so I don't know what that means for the future but if that's the right opportunity, then I want to be there."

McLaren reportedly told Ricciardo of their intention to pay him off, and replace him with Oscar Piastri for 2023.

Ricciardo emotionally explained his disappointment: "It's not the result we wanted in terms of when I joined the team - this wasn't desired. We just didn't get it right. 

“We put in a lot of effort and tried to get through it, understand the car etc. There was just too many weekends that were a bit of a struggle. That's how it came about. 

Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) McLaren on the grid. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 13, Hungarian Grand Prix, Budapest, Hungary,
Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) McLaren on the grid. Formula 1 World Championship,…

"It's not the nicest feeling but I can hold my head high in trying to make it work. You have to accept you tried and it didn't work out. It's just one of those things. I am proud of how we tried to make it happen."

The split between Ricciardo and McLaren has been reported for weeks and, although it was finalised this week, the driver has explained how it happened.

"It wasn't a random call one day. We've been talking for the last few months and it wasn't always 'top five this race or you're done' but what we can do as a collective to make this work. 

“There was a lot of dialogue but also I knew it was a point of concern because the results I was getting wasn't up to the level we all thought. We talked for months about how to rectify the issues.”

He said about Piastri, his fellow Australian, and Piastri’s manager Mark Webber: "I honestly still don't know what the future holds for Oscar. It's just business. 

“Mark is doing his job for Oscar. I don't take any of that personally. I will be supporting a fellow Aussie."

He added: "I think, like picking myself up, is something that I feel I am capable of doing. This is a big moment in time for my career but you're always going through challenges. You always have to pick yourself up. No one has a perfect career so I've learnt to deal with it.

"That fire, that belief is still in me.

"A lot of hugs and there's a lot of people want me to do well at McLaren. There's no better feeling than success in this sport so I know if I apply myself, we can find a way to do it."

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