Daniel Ricciardo could follow in Kimi Raikkonen’s footsteps as opportunity emerges

Daniel Ricciardo will be replaced by Oscar Piastri at McLaren next season.

Daniel Ricciardo’s decision on whether to take a one-year hiatus from Formula 1 or not has had another factor added to it, following rumours that NASCAR side Trackhouse Racing Project 91 have the 33-year-old firmly on their radar.

The Honey Badger is, of course, going to be replaced by exciting 2021 Formula 2 World Champion Oscar Piastri, therefore leaving Ricciardo searching for a seat next season.

However, the Aussie is unsure whether he wants a seat next season, with the option of taking a year away from the sport, something that Ricciardo has “accepted”.

Ricciardo has been forced to recognise the option of sitting out for a year, with the only available seats in the paddock not appearing to interest the much-loved driver.

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In all honesty, a lot of the teams with seats aren’t completely convinced about signing Ricciardo, who is not only exceptionally expensive but also massively underperforming.

Signing Ricciardo is certainly a risk given his time at McLaren; however, it can’t be forgotten that he is a former Red Bull driver with eight victories to his name.

The Aussie has held a phone call with Haas boss Guenther Steiner, which took place prior to the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Steiner is a huge fan of the Honey Badger, but only wants to pursue trying to sign the Aussie should he want to remain in the championship next season.

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Unless Alpine sign Ricciardo, any of the remaining seats would be a step backwards for the outgoing McLaren driver, it remains to be seen if this is something that’ll bother the 33-year-old.

Should he take a year out, with a view to returning in 2024 when a number of contracts are due to expire, then it appears he might have the option to venture over to NASCAR.

Ricciardo has never hidden the fact that he loves the United States and even spent his summer there.

The Australian could have an opportunity to spend the majority of 2023 across the Atlantic, following reports that Trackhouse Racing Project 91 boss Justin Marks, is keen on getting Ricciardo into his car.

Marks is trying to get drivers from across the world to race for his side, with 2007 F1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen having driven for the team at the recent NASCAR Cup Series race at Watkins Glen.

It at least gives Ricciardo an opportunity to continue racing whilst away from F1; however, Sir Lewis Hamilton believes the McLaren driver should be racing at the pinnacle of motorsport.

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“I think he should be racing, firstly,’ Hamilton said ahead of the Italian Grand Prix.

“I think he’s far too talented — he’s earnt the right to be amongst us all racing.

“If I was managing him, he’d be racing.”