McLaren say Daniel Ricciardo could stay with the team in 2023

McLaren have refused to rule out a reserve driver role for Daniel Ricciardo.

Mercedes and Red Bull looked like the only two options that Daniel Ricciardo had in 2023 with regards to a reserve driver role, however McLaren now appear to have entered the fray despite terminating the Australian’s race seat contract.

Ricciardo’s performances have been below par during his spell with McLaren, never quite living up to the high standards he set in his days with Red Bull.

The team decided that they would be replacing the 33-year-old with rookie Oscar Piastri earlier this year, leaving Ricciardo to rethink his plans for the future.

The Australian rejected the chance to join Williams or Haas, saying that he preferred to take a year away from the grid as a reserve driver in order to secure a race seat at a better team in 2024, with Red Bull and Mercedes looking the favourites.

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McLaren have now refused to rule themselves out of the race for their sacked driver, with team principal Andreas Seidl reminding everyone that they are still yet to select their third driver option.

“We haven’t discussed the issue yet, but usually in the winter we select a reserve driver,” said Seidl when asked about the possibility of Ricciardo staying with the team.

“In recent years, we shared a reserve driver with another team, but now we have no disagreements with Daniel. It is possible that he will be our third driver in 2023.”

Ricciardo has had a torrid time with McLaren, with the unlikely win in Monza proving to be a flash in the pan as far as performance goes for the 8-time race winner’s form with the team.

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The fan favourite has not seemed himself in recent weeks, often found sat on his own after a poor result with the smile that fans became used to, wiped clean off his face.

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Ricciardo even admitted in a recent interview that he is unsure how he is managing to cope after such a poor year, and that he had to hire a phycologist to stop the disappointment in his racing career from creeping into his home life.

It would be understandable if the 33-year-old decided to break away from McLaren and have a completely fresh start as a reserve driver at another team, but remaining at the team does remain an interesting option for Ricciardo.

Mercedes still remain the current favourite to take on Ricciardo for 2023, with current reserve driver Nyck de Vries vacating the role to take a race seat at AlphaTauri next year, but it remains to be seen which team the Australian will select.