Daniel Ricciardo’s future remains incredibly uncertain, with the Australian unsure whether to take a one-year hiatus or to pursue one of the remaining 2023 seats.
The 33-year-old has only six races left with McLaren, before being replaced by the highly rated Oscar Piastri, who will take his seat next season.
Ricciardo’s only realistic option appears to be Haas, with it being confirmed that the Honey Badger had a phone conversation with the American team’s boss, Guenther Steiner, prior to the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Steiner is an admirer of the Aussie but doesn’t see the point in trying to sign Ricciardo whilst the McLaren driver is unsure if he wants to take a hiatus or not.
Ricciardo appears to be unsure over what he wants going forward, with the much-loved driver admitting that he “honestly doesn’t know” what 2023 will hold.
“I’m not holding anything back. I honestly don’t know [what’s next]. I have a sense of what could be and trying to make a plan for that but nothing is signed for next year. I don’t have a contract,” Ricciardo told News Corp.
“It’s really two scenarios. I get a contract with a team that feels right for me and it all makes sense or I sit on the sidelines for a year and then work towards 2024.
“Right now it’s a difficult time and there’s a lot of uncertainty but maybe in a week’s time or a month’s time it’s all going to make sense, so I’m certainly at ease with all of that.”
Even if he decides to pursue a 2023 seat, there is no guarantee that he’ll get one.
Williams appear likely to sign either Nyck de Vries or F2 driver Logan Sargeant, with AlphaTauri also keen on Mercedes’ reserve driver.
That leaves just Alpine and Haas as possibilities, with Zhou all but set to be retained by Alfa Romeo.
Alpine also looks unlikely, with Pierre Gasly the hot favourite to replace Fernando Alonso.
Should Ricciardo want to move to Haas, then he’ll need to prove himself in the final races of the season.
Nico Hulkenberg and Antonio Giovinazzi have also been linked to Haas, with there also being a “50/50 chance” that Mick Schumacher will be retained.
Ricciardo’s best chance at getting a seat on the grid could come in 2024, due to a number of drivers being without a contract at the end of next season.
The Australian is open to a possible year off, with the Honey Badger aware that he might “learn something” about himself.
“If I’m not meant to be on the grid next year then maybe something happens next year which puts me in an even better position,” he said.
“Or maybe I learn something about myself through having time off that it gets more out of me or it builds that hunger or fire to another level that I didn’t know existed.
“I’m not panicked about maybe not racing next year because maybe some other good things will happen – that’s given me a lot more ease of the situation.”
Ricciardo has actually spoken about what he might get up to should he take a one-year hiatus from F1, with his plans sounding fairly similar to how he spent the recent summer break.
“There is something about getting out in nature is good for the soul,” he said.
“Little road trips and little experiences in the form of being in nature would appeal to me.
“It’s such a different existence to my Formula 1 life and the schedule and the flying and the hotels. The contrast of something like that would be kind of quite refreshing.”