McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo is said to be deep in conversation with Mercedes regarding a reserve role with them in 2023.
The Australian left Renault and joined McLaren at the start of last season, and his partnership with Lando Norris was set to be one of the most potent on the grid.
Whatever the reason may be though, he has never found a rhythm with the car, and this has led to some underwhelming performances.
The 33-year-old has been comfortably out-performed by his team-mate, and his lack of points leaves them locked in a tighter battle with Alpine than the team would like for fourth in the championship.
Both sides tried to make the relationship work, but the difficult decision was taken over the summer break to part ways at the end of the 2022 season, one year before Ricciardo’s contract was initially set to end.
Since the announcement of his departure, Ricciardo has been linked with moves back to the now Alpine-branded Renault team, as well as moves to Haas and Williams.
These are the only three seats left on the grid, but the general consensus is that Alpine are set to sign Pierre Gasly from AlphaTauri, with Nyck de Vries joining the Red Bull junior team in his place.
Haas seem to be choosing between Mick Schumacher and Nico Hulkenberg for their remaining drive alongside Kevin Magnussen, while there is little indication as to whom Williams might sign.
It is possible that the British team will decide to promote Formula 2 driver, Logan Sargeant, but that is partially dependent on how his practice session goes at his home US Grand Prix later in October.
One of the other options for Ricciardo is to come on board with Mercedes as a reserve driver, with de Vries departing that position at the end of the season.
According to Canal Plus in France, the Perth-born racer’s discussions with the eight-time champions are at an advanced stage.
Sir Lewis Hamilton said during the Italian Grand Prix weekend that Ricciardo is “far too talented” not to be on the grid in 2023.