Ricciardo opens up on retirement plans after US racer tipped to replace him

Daniel Ricciardo left Red Bull at the end of 2018 after five seasons with the team.

McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo believes that he has matured since his Red Bull days, and has no feelings of regret over not winning a world title with the Milton Keynes side.

The Australian took seven wins in 100 races with Red Bull between 2014 and 2018, but the car was never quite on the level to contest Mercedes for the world championship – Sir Lewis Hamilton’s 51 wins in that time stand testament of the Silver Arrows’ dominance.

Having become slightly disenfranchised at the team and found himself in need of new scenery amid the meteoric rise of Max Verstappen, the 32-year-old headed to Renault in 2019, but their form failed to match their 2018 heights, as they ended fifth in the Constructors’ Championship, 54 points behind fourth-placed McLaren.

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Before he claimed two podiums with the French manufacturer in 2020, he had already decided to partner Lando Norris at McLaren last year, but 13 points finishes and a 45-point deficit to the Briton made for a frustrating 2021 for the Australian.

The silver lining came in the sense that he claimed victory at the Italian Grand Prix, but he has never emulated his front-running Red Bull form since he left.

He is adamant though that the lack of championship contention with the four-time constructors’ champions does not gnaw at him like it used to when he was younger.

“I think through doing it for so many years now, and just a bit of wisdom, maturity, and perspective, I don’t beat myself up about it anymore,” said Ricciardo, quoted by Fox Australia. 

“I know when I was 27 or 28 I would say in interviews, like, ‘I’m running out of time, I’m not world champion yet.’ I was a bit bitter about it then. But I’ve kind of let that element go.”

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As for how long he wants to continue racing in the pinnacle of motorsport, the McLaren driver insists that the fire has not gone out, and he still wants to win, but concedes that he only has so many seasons left.

“I couldn’t tell you now if it’s three years, five years, whatever, but I’m aware that I can’t see myself doing this at 40,” he explained.

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“I’m still passionate about the sport and I still want to do good in it, so that’s it. It’s as simple as that. You just pull back (the negatives). I’m still enjoying it. The results aren’t there yet. But a negative attitude isn’t going to help me get those results either.”

Ricciardo’s contract with McLaren is up at the end of 2023, but journalist Joe Saward wrote in his blog that the Australian looks “lost” at the Woking side, and tipped 22-year-old IndyCar prodigy Colton Herta to replace him either next year or in 2024.