Daniel Ricciardo’s days in Formula 1 appear to be numbered, with the outgoing McLaren driver still searching for a 2023 seat.
His options are thinning by the second, with Nyck de Vries’ impressive debut at the Italian Grand Prix having put the Dutchman on Alpine’s, AlphaTauri’s and Williams’ radars.
It’s being increasingly reported that should Pierre Gasly leave AlphaTauri for Alpine, then De Vries will move into the Red Bull sister team to partner Yuki Tsunoda.
This would see the Mercedes reserve driver leave his role at the Silver Arrows, something which the 33-year-old has been linked to.
Williams appear to be waiting for Alpine to make their decision, with the British team also having Williams Academy driver Logan Sargeant on their list for potential Nicholas Latifi replacements.
Haas appears to be Ricciardo’s best chance to remain in the sport, should the American team decide not to retain Mick Schumacher.
Ricciardo has held conversations with Guenther Steiner; however, so have Nico Hulkenberg and Antonio Giovinazzi.
The Honey Badger is prepared for a year out of the sport if that’s what it comes to, with the Aussie having “certainly accepted” that he could be forced into a one-year hiatus.
“I’ve certainly accepted if I’m not to be on the grid next year, I’m okay with that,” Ricciardo said to Fox Sports.
“I’ve accepted I’m not going to do everything, or my [management] team’s not going to do everything, just to put me on the grid if it’s not right or it doesn’t make sense. Obviously this year’s been challenging and if I am on the grid, I want to know it’s [at] a place I can enjoy it and feel like I can thrive, an environment I feel I can thrive in.
“I don’t want to just jump into a car for the sake of it.”
Ricciardo may still be in the paddock next season even if it isn’t as a first-team driver, with Mercedes supposedly interested in making the McLaren driver their reserve next season.
This would most likely mean Ricciardo would be in the German team’s garage on a Grand Prix basis, something De Vries currently does himself.
Ricciardo was asked whether the rumours were true, with the Italian Grand Prix retiree admitting he’s “keeping every option open”.
“No comment. Just kidding!” joked Ricciardo.
“The truth is I’m keeping every option open for, as I said, not only next year, but for the future.
“I still don’t know what next year looks like.”
Ricciardo would spend a lot of time with Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell should he accept the reserve role; however, Hamilton thinks the Australian driver is actually “far too talented” to occupy that role.
The seven-time World Champion believes Ricciardo has “earned the right” to be on the grid, with the Brit certain the Aussie would be on the grid if “I was managing him”.
“I think he should be racing, personally,” said the 37-year-old.
“I think he’s far too talented not to.
“And he’s earned the right to be amongst us all, racing. But of course, if he’s a part of our team that would be great. But I mean, the third role is not really, I think, what’s best for him. I was managing him, he’d be racing.”