Ricciardo open to year out of F1 to take "two steps forward" in 2024

Daniel Ricciardo has suggested he could have a year out of Formula 1 in 2023 if it allowed him to take “two steps forward” upon returning in 2024.

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, on the drivers' parade

Ricciardo will leave McLaren at the end of the season after agreeing a mutual split with one year remaining on his contract following a difficult stint at Woking.

Ricciardo has been clear he is not looking to rush into any decision about his future, but remains keen to keep racing in F1 if the right opportunity comes up.

Speaking on the Fitzy and Wippa radio show in Australia on Friday, Ricciardo said he still did not know what his future held, but that he was carefully considering his options along with his management team.

“When I say I don’t know, I don’t have a contract yet for next year,” said Ricciardo.

“Could it still happen? It could. I guess I’m not getting too caught up in next year. Of course I want to race, I want to be on the grid, I want to be competing.

“But I’m not kind of seeing next year as all or nothing. Obviously 2024 is something I want to be aware of and look at.

“So that’s kind of where I’m like, if it means taking a step back to then take two steps forward, then that’s what we’re trying to figure out at the moment, me and my team. So that could be a year off.”

Ricciardo added that if he did take a year off, he “would still very much be in the mindset of getting back on the grid for 2024.”

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, arrives on the grid

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, arrives on the grid

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

The only current vacant seats for 2023 lie at Alpine, Alfa Romeo, Haas and Williams, although it is unclear what interest there is from those teams in Ricciardo.

Alpine has set its sights on signing Pierre Gasly, who is under contract at AlphaTauri, which in turn has spoken to Nyck de Vries as a possible replacement.

De Vries is also subject to interest from Alpine, having tested for the team in Hungary this week, as well as Williams, with whom he made his F1 debut at Monza as a stand-in for Alex Albon.

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Alfa Romeo is widely expected to retain Zhou Guanyu after an impressive rookie season, while Haas is understood to have Antonio Giovinazzi and Nico Hulkenberg high on its shortlist for 2023.

Ricciardo has been linked with a potential reserve role at Mercedes for 2023, but Lewis Hamilton said he thought the Australian was “far too talented” to not be racing next year.

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