McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo has affirmed that IndyCar is not at the top of his list of priorities as he looks to secure a Formula 1 seat for 2023.
The Australian left Renault for McLaren at the end of 2020, but struggled to find form alongside Lando Norris with a car that has not suited his driving style.
The 33-year-old has tried hard to adapt to it, and the team have tried their best to make their concept work for him, but the partnership has not worked despite his victory in Monza last year.
Ricciardo’s form in the early part of this year led CEO Zak Brown to give him the hurry up in interviews, but both the Australian and the team pledged to go to the end of his contract next season.
However, after lots of time speaking with Brown and team principal Andreas Seidl, Ricciardo was told that the British side wanted to go in a different direction next year.
They are set to sign Alpine reserve Oscar Piastri, with Ricciardo ending his deal early by mutual consent.
It was reported after the announcement was made that Brown had offered is driver a place in McLaren’s Arrow SP IndyCar project, but he turned this down, as he still believes there are things for him to achieve in the pinnacle of motorsport.
“Yes, we spoke about that,” Brown told Motorsportmagazine.com.
“As Andreas said, he’s an exceptional racing driver and any team that he drives for is so privileged to have Daniel drive for them, and we do have a variety of racing activities.
“But, that being said, he’s very focused on Formula 1.”
Ricciardo himself confirmed that he is a “fan” of the IndyCar series, currently being led by Will Power, but he is adamant that he wants to stick around the F1 paddock.
“I would say currently I still see myself as more of a fan of Indy,” he told Formula1.com.
“It’s maybe not necessarily that I’m not interested in it.
“I think there is some… It’s more that I still feel there is unfinished business here, there’s a little more Daniel here in F1.
“That’s why I’ve kind of got blinkers on for F1 still and to try to make it work here before I invest time into something else.”
It initially looked as though the door might be open to Ricciardo to go back to Alpine – and it still might be – but AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly looks the favourite.
There is still a faint chance that Piastri may end up driving for the French side too, and Ricciardo’s other options consist of Haas, Alfa Romeo, AlphaTauri and Williams.
Yuki Tsunoda is expected to sign with the Red Bull junior side next year but, if Gasly goes, the other seat would open up – although it is unlikely that the eight-time race winner would want to return.
Zhou Guanyu is likely to be given a new deal by Sauber, while uncertainty remains over the future of Nicholas Latifi.
Whatever Ricciardo decides to do, he will not come up with a definitive plan immediately.
“I think it will be ongoing for, I want to say, at least the next few weeks,” he stated.
“I think as well for me with everything that’s gone on, I don’t want to make a quick, rash decision; I certainly want to see also how I feel once all this dust settles.
“I feel like by the end of this triple-header I’ll get a bit more of an idea of what feels right.
“I think the main thing I would address to fans is I still want to do it. That’s probably the positive side I’ll put out there to them.
“I appreciate there are also no guarantees, but we’ll see what happens.
“When I know, everyone will know – I don’t really have a reason to hold anything back now or have any secrets, but I still think it will be a bit of time.”
Ricciardo finished fifth behind Lando Norris in first practice at this weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix.