Daniel Ricciardo is looking closer to becoming a reserve driver for the Mercedes F1 team in 2023.
Daniel Ricciardo, 33, has been sacked with 12 months left on his McLaren contract, meaning he will lose his F1 seat for 2023. McLaren will use Ricciardo’s Australian Oscar Piastri as Lando Norris’ team-mate in 2023.
Rumors emerged last month that Daniel Ricciardo would become a reserve driver for the Mercedes F1 team. The Mercedes F1 team seat for 2023 is set to test a strong partnership between Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.
And ahead of Friday’s F1 Singapore Grand Prix, Daniel Ricciardo sparked rumors once again when he was spotted leaving the Mercedes F1 team’s hospitality area at Marina Bay.
“Mercedes is definitely interested,” The Times journalist Rebecca Clancy told CODE Sports’ Track Torque podcast.
“Mercedes will love him as a backup driver with experience, talent and an absolute marketer’s dream.”
“He’s talking to all the teams. There are some options, but he doesn’t want to be competitive.”
“The negotiations with Mercedes will continue. They won’t have to make a decision until March next year, or maybe carry out tests in February.”
“Ricciardo is a proven performer and frankly the sport needs someone like him.”
“These young drivers coming in, racing is their whole life, not the most interesting people.”
“We need someone a bit older. We need Drive to Survive, we need F1, we all need him. I don’t like how the grid is shaping up next season.”
Footage of Daniel Ricciardo waltzing out of the Mercedes F1 team building only fanned the flames of F1’s annual silly season.
Sky Sports F1 commentator David Croft said on Friday: “I still believe Daniel Ricciardo has a chance to stay in F1 next season with either Red Bull or Mercedes as third driver.”
“Discussions are ongoing with these two teams.”
Speculation is mounting over Daniel Ricciardo’s next move, but the options are already running out: Alpine, Haas and Williams are the only three F1 teams yet to confirm their driver line-up for 2023.
Daniel Ricciardo told reporters ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix that his management was exploring options, but said he would be happy to take the reserve driver’s job in 2023 as a back-up plan.
Taking on the role of third driver may seem unusual for someone of Daniel Ricciardo’s caliber, but doing so would make him a prime candidate for a vacant job in 2024. Lewis Hamilton’s contract expires at the end of the 2023 season and there are rumors he could retire.
Lewis Hamilton claimed Ricciardo was “too talented” to be a reserve driver and admitted it was “great” to have Ricciardo in his garage.
“I think he should race in person,” Lewis Hamilton said last month.
“He is too talented to be a third driver. He has earned the right to race with all of us.”
“Of course, if he’s part of my team, that’s great. But the third driver role isn’t the best fit for him. If I were managing him, I’d give him a run. He’ll let me you!”
— The Soft Compound (@thesoftcompound) September 30, 2022
Category: F1 / Daniel Ricardo / mercedes