Daniel Ricciardo will one day retire from Formula 1 wondering ‘what if’, as his bold decision to leave Red Bull at the end of the 2018 season has so far failed to pay off after unsuccessful spells with Renault and McLaren.
The Australian has underperformed in his two years partnered with Lando Norris at McLaren, and after both parties admitting that they have done everything possible to make things work, the team announced that they would be replacing Ricciardo with rookie Oscar Piastri in 2023.
The 33-year-old has outlined his plan to get back to the top of Formula 1, which involved taking a year serving as Red Bull’s third driver, before hunting for a return to the grid with a top team in 2024.
Ricciardo reportedly rejected advanced from Williams and Haas, claiming that his racing instincts would see him struggle to adapt to spending his races at the back of the grid, but has now admitted that he is also glad that no top teams came in for him for a 2023 race seat.
“As Guenther [Steiner] said, he reached out and stuff,” claimed Ricciardo on a recent podcast.
“Since the summer break, the more days that passed – especially [after] the triple-header to get back into the second half of the season, so three races on the bounce – it became more and more clear that it wasn’t about what phone call I was receiving, it was about me acknowledging that I just ultimately don’t want to be competition next year.
“So, in a way, I am glad that a top team didn’t reach out, because it’s one of those ones where you probably feel like, ‘Oh, I’ve got to sign it!’
“But I think deep down, I was just craving a bit of distance.”
Ricciardo looked to be only a reliable engine from a championship title during his time with Red Bull, however after only securing a single win during his four years with Renault and McLaren, it is safe to say things have not gone as the Australian would have hoped.
The McLaren is a famously difficult car to drive, should it not match your driving style and it has been suggested by Ricciardo that he put too much focus on changing how he drives, that he lost sight of his natural racing instincts.
The current rumour doing its rounds about Ricciardo’s future is that he could be given a second chance at Red Bull, should Sergio Perez fail to impress in 2023 and his relationship with Max Verstappen not improve.