McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo remains optimistic that his career has a few years left amid uncertainty over his future.
The Australian has struggled to settle in at McLaren since he joined at the start of last season, and it has appeared difficult for him to find common ground with his car.
His victory in Monza last season remains his only podium with the team, and it is one of 17 points finishes he has accomplished with the Woking-based outfit.
The eight-time race winner has been out-qualified 26 times in 33 races by team-mate Lando Norris, with the Briton finding a lot more joy with the car.
The 22-year-old has previously suggested that Ricciardo is not being helped by the very specific driver attributes that the McLaren car requires.
However, though the car is difficult to adapt to, Ricciardo’s strife in attempting to do so has caused some impatience for CEO Zak Brown, with the American suggesting that his driver ought to be performing closer to his team-mate’s level.
The former Red Bull driver has already indicated that both he and the team intend to honour his contract that runs until the end of next season, but there have been reports that Alpine reserve driver Oscar Piastri is set to replace him next year.
The 21-year-old denied the French team’s claim that he was going to be promoted to replace Fernando Alonso, who is joining Aston Martin following the retirement of Sebastian Vettel.
If Mark Webber has managed to get his driver in at McLaren, then there is a possibility that Ricciardo could end up moving back to Enstone, having left them at the end of 2020.
Indeed, staying in the sport after being dropped by McLaren is something Sergio Perez did in 2014 following his dismissal at the end of 2013.
The Mexican had joined the side from Sauber, and scored 11 points finishes to Jenson Button’s 14 as he finished 11thin the championship.
He was just 24 points behind the Briton by the end of the season, and he lost the qualifying battle by one.
The decision to move him on seemed a strange one and, despite impressive performances of his own, Perez’s replacement, Kevin Magnussen, was shown the door after just one season too.
Perez, meanwhile, managed to snap up a drive with Force India for 2014, and he notched seven podiums in seven seasons with the team that would eventually become Racing Point.
One of those seven was a victory in Sakhir at the end of the 2020 season but, despite this, the 32-year-old looked out of a drive due to the arrival of Vettel to the now Aston Martin side.
As the German moved across to partner Lance Stroll though, the door opened at Red Bull when Alex Albon was dropped following a shaky year.
Having thought he had lost it all, the Mexican ended up in one of the best seats in Formula 1, and this is something Ricciardo takes inspiration from.
“We all believe that we can win,” he told Motorsport.com.
“I would prefer to win tomorrow, but it doesn’t always work that way, at this point, 2024 or 2025 still sounds a long way off, but it will soon be.
“You also pick up little things from Sergio Perez, for example.
“His career seemed over, but now he is potentially fighting for the world title, the sport can change so quickly.”
Ricciardo is currently 12th in the Drivers’ Standings, five places and 57 points behind Norris.