Double F1 champion makes ‘scary’ admission about Daniel Ricciardo

Mika Hakkinen has suggested that Daniel Ricciardo should resist the urge to return to Formula 1 after his year away in 2023.

Daniel Ricciardo has been the subject of a lot of speculation in recent months, with his future being up in the air since it was announced that McLaren would replace him with Oscar Piastri for 2023.

The Australian was a rumoured target for Alpine, Williams and Haas however it is now all but confirmed that the 33-year-old will be taking up a reserve driver role, most likely at former team Red Bull, for 2023, with the aim of returning at a competitive team in 2024.

F1 legend Mika Hakkinen has warned Ricciardo however that he should remain on the side lines, rather than targeting a return in 2024, with the Finish legend talking from experience, having taken a gap year himself in 2001.

“If Daniel decides to have one year off, from experience I know once you leave this sport normally you shouldn’t come back,” he said.

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“I think my position was a little bit different because I was already a two-time world champion, I’d achieved my goals,” Hakkinen suggested.

“Daniel has a different situation. His performance has been dropping, he’s not going flat-out there.”

Hakkinen has suggested that if Ricciardo cannot find his best pace now, then it will be difficult for him to come back and be quicker.

The Finn expressed his concerns about Ricciardo, with the reason for his poor performances still being unknown seemingly even to the Australian, despite his clear ability to be a race winner.

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“People are not sure with him if he’s quick enough,” said Hakkinen.

“That could make it difficult having a year off and coming back because if you’re not quick enough, there’s always some kind of explanation, some reason. 

“And I feel he’s not giving this information very clearly to the media, to fans, to the team. That’s a bit scary, you have to know why I’m not able to maximise performance to the same level as my teammate.”

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The gap between Ricciardo and teammate Lando Norris has been staggering at times, with the 33-year-old often seeing himself knocked out in Q1, while Norris is a regular in Q3 and fighting for a reasonable points haul every race.

Ricciardo has assured fans that a concrete plan to return in 2024 is in place, with a 2023 seat with a lower team not being a part of this process.

The fan favourite has turned down the chance to take Mick Schumacher’s place at Haas, with Ricciardo not being willing to adjust himself to fighting at the back of the grid, and only a seat at a top team being on the agenda for the eight-time race winner.