Daniel Ricciardo admits he won’t be on F1 2023 grid

Daniel Ricciardo has admitted for the first time that he will not be on the F1 2023 grid, but he is eyeing a comeback in 2024. 

The Australian had his contract with McLaren terminated early so that 2021 Formula 2 champion Oscar Piastri could take his seat alongside Lando Norris next season. 

Ricciardo’s options to remain in F1 were already limited but news of Pierre Gasly’s move to Alpine has officially closed the door on a possible return to Enstone. 

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With Nyck de Vries replacing Gasly at AlphaTauri there are just two available seats left for next year - at Haas and Williams. 

Speaking to reporters after qualifying 11th at the Japanese Grand Prix, Ricciardo conceded a sabbatical from F1 in 2023 is now “the reality”. 

"Yeah, to be honest, the Gasly news I was aware of, I knew they were they were talking for a while and I knew though they were very interested in Pierre,” said Ricciardo. 

"Let's say I was prepared for that and no surprise so we were trying to, let's say navigate, our way around that and figure out what was next.

"But I think the reality is now I won't be on the grid in 2023, I think it's now just trying to set up for 2024. 

“I think that there could be some better opportunities then so that's really what all this confirms and now where the sights are set.”

Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) McLaren MCL36. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 18, Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka, Japan, Qualifying
Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) McLaren MCL36. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 18,…

Ricciardo said he plans “still to be involved in F1” amid speculation linking him with a reserve driver role at Mercedes, a position that is now open following de Vries’ full-time promotion next season. 

The eight-time grand prix winner has already ruled out racing in another series outside of F1. 

"Certainly the plan is still to be involved in F1," he explained. "It's kind of like just hitting pause for a little bit, as I see it as far as my F1 career goes.

"The full intention is for '24 and sure it could open up opportunities to maybe do some of that stuff, but if I feel it's going to deviate away from my target then I will still say it's not really where I'm looking.

"As fun or cool as it sounds to compete in something else, the truth is mentally, I'm not there yet. I'm still so, so engaged in this and I think a bit of time off out of a seat will probably do me good.

"I would probably use that than try to jump in something else and stay busy in a different category.

"I'd say pretty convincingly say it wouldn't happen anywhere else."

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