‘No need to flirt with another woman’: Toto Wolff on Mercedes signing Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo is set to lose his seat at the McLaren F1 Team.

Daniel Ricciardo is without a doubt the most under pressure driver in Formula 1, with his seat at the McLaren F1 Team looking increasingly like it won’t be his next season.

It is firmly believed that Alpine F1 Team reserve driver Oscar Piastri has signed a deal with McLaren for 2023, which will see him alongside Lando Norris.

However, the spanner in the works is that Ricciardo has a contract with McLaren for 2023, with the Australian having previously expressed his intent on seeing out his current deal with the Woking-based side.

It looks as if Ricciardo will be offered a huge sum of money to step away from the team at the end of the season, and perhaps either drive elsewhere or take a year out of the sport.

READ: Daniel Ricciardo praises Pierre Gasly as he’s set to lose McLaren

The most probable move for Ricciardo should he wish to remain in the sport would be a return to the Enstone-based side (formerly known as Renault), the issue there, though, is whether there will still be grudges against Ricciardo for how he left the team in 2020.

The only other option for Ricciardo would be at Williams; this would realistically put an end to the Honey Badger’s hopes of returning to winning ways, something which could happen at Alpine.

One person who might be watching the Ricciardo situation incredibly closely is Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, who is a known fan of the Australian’s.

In 2019, Wolff admitted that the German team “really like” Ricciardo, and that they “always had an eye” on him.

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“We always had an eye on Daniel … we really like him in here,” Wolff said.

“It’s just the mentality in Mercedes – I sometimes feel if you’re happy in your relationship it is not always easy (to change).

“It is like being married, you need to be 100 per cent behind it. It was not a lack of interest, it was just that we were in a happy relationship and there was no need to flirt with another woman at that stage.”

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Perhaps Ricciardo will see if Mercedes are still keeping tabs on him, with a seat at the German team potentially open in 2024, if Sir Lewis Hamilton decides to retire.

Despite how poorly Ricciardo has performed at McLaren this season, he is still regarded by many as one of the top five drivers on the grid.

It was for this reason why Mercedes considered signing Ricciardo for 2019, to replace Valtteri Bottas.