Daniel Ricciardo casts doubt on 2023 Mercedes move

Daniel Ricciardo is reported to be close to signing a deal with Mercedes to become their reserve driver for 2023.

It appears to be somewhat confirmed that Daniel Ricciardo won’t be on the 2023 grid, with the much-loved Australian set for a year on the side-lines next season.

A year out is what the 33-year-old thinks he “needs”, with the last two years having been a disaster for the McLaren driver.

So much was anticipated from Ricciardo’s move to the Woking-based team, where he was tipped to bring the pace he demonstrated on countless occasions whilst at Red Bull.

What wasn’t anticipated, was that Lando Norris would beat the Aussie week in, week out.

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This season alone, Ricciardo has claimed just 29 points, compared to Norris’ 101.

Norris has virtually had to battle Alpine for fourth in the Constructors’ on his own, with Ricciardo more often than not outside the points.

Given how loved Ricciardo is, nobody has enjoyed his downfall, with many also upset that he won’t be on the grid next season.

Due to the run of poor performances, Ricciardo and McLaren decided to cut short their deal, which ran until the end of 2023.

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A move to Mercedes as their new reserve driver is reportedly on the cards, with Nyck de Vries having moved to AlphaTauri for next year.

On his day, Ricciardo is still one of the fastest drivers on the grid, with most being lucky to win one race, whereas the Honey Badger has claimed eight.

A year off could do him a lot of good, especially if it’s spent in the Mercedes camp.

Ricciardo revealed to Sky Sports F1 that he “would like the break”, to reassess his options for 2024.

“It’s something I’ve certainly evaluated since the summer break,” said Ricciardo, regarding the rumours he was set for a year out.

“I wanted to give it a few races and the more time that passes, the more I feel like it’s what I need. Albeit as well the opportunities… there’s not really anything in the form of next year!

“It’s part I would like the break and need to reset a little bit, and part 2024 as well, some other things may open up.”

Given the competitiveness of the sport nowadays, there is no guarantee that Ricciardo will be able to secure a seat next season; however, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is highly likely to do all he can to get the Aussie on the grid in 2024, given how big a fan he is of the ex-Red Bull driver.

Ricciardo thinks there could be some “better opportunities” available in 2024, with the Aussie not ready yet to take up another form of motorsport.

READ: Daniel Ricciardo makes ‘sore loser’ admission while rating Lando Norris

“I think that there could be some better opportunities in 2024, so that’s really what all this confirms and now where the sights are set,” added Ricciardo during the Japanese GP weekend.

“Certainly the plan is still to be involved in F1.

“It’s kind of like just hitting pause for a little bit, as I see it – and let’s say as far as my F1 career goes the full intention is [to be driving] for ’24.”