Toto Wolff reacts to Daniel Ricciardo Mercedes ‘rumours’

Daniel Ricciardo is looking for a reserve driver role during his year on the sidelines in 2023, with Red Bull and Mercedes emerging as potential teams for him to join.

McLaren have seen a significant gap in points between their two drivers this year, with Lando Norris outscoring his teammate Daniel Ricciardo at almost every race in 2022.

With this in mind the team have decided to shake things up for 2023, bringing in young Australian Oscar Piastri to replace his older countryman, who’s contract will be terminated after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Ricciardo has admitted that he has had to hire a psychologist to help him deal with how dejected his performance at race weekends has made him feel, stating that the results have begun to start affecting his life away from the grid as well.

The 33-year-old has outlined his plan to take a year working as a reserve driver for another team before plotting a return to the grid with a top team in 2024, desperate to challenge at the front once again.

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“I want to take the time necessary, keep a little bit of distance to the sport, and, let’s say, rebuild myself,” the former Red Bull driver explained.

“But then yeah, if something makes sense in 2024, come back with a vengeance and have some fun and hopefully race at the front.”

The two main candidates for Ricciardo’s signature appear to be Mercedes and Red Bull, with the Silver Arrows in particular in desperate need of a reserve driver.

Stoffel Vandoorne, who did a lot of the team’s simulator work, has departed for a similar role at Aston Martin, while Nyck de Vries has finally been given his chance at a race seat with AlphaTauri.

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has distanced his team from the rumours that a deal might be imminent, despite agreeing that Ricciardo’s experience would be “really advantageous” to whichever team took him onboard.

“For us, we very much like him, he’s a great character,” said Wolff.

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“But we are not in a position to decided who is going to be reserve and third driver.

“I don’t want to put any rumours out there, because we haven’t decided.”

It is unsure which ‘top team’ Ricciardo plans to join in 2024, with Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari all having their drivers tied down to multi-year contracts, but fans will be desperate to see the charismatic Aussie back on the grid as soon as possible.