What Ricciardo wants from a 2023 F1 reserve deal
Departing McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo says finding the “right balance” will be crucial in his quest to secure a reserve role in Formula 1 in 2023 which could propel him onto the grid in 2024.
Following McLaren’s decision to replace Ricciardo with 2021 Formula 2 champion Oscar Piastri for 2023 and with limited options elsewhere, Ricciardo confirmed he would not be on the grid next year at Suzuka last month.
Ricciardo has repeatedly stated his intention to return to the F1 field in 2024 and wants to find a reserve role for next season that can keep him involved in the championship.
He is yet to ‘sign or accept’ a deal with any team, with Mercedes and Red Bull among the most popular options.
The 33-year-old has also spoken of his desire to get some break from F1 to revitalize himself after his largely painful two seasons at McLaren – so he’s looking for a reserve role that allows him the right combination of time in a car . or simulator, team involvement and space away from F1.
“You’ve hit the right word with balance because obviously that’s something I also want to have enough time for myself,” Ricciardo said when asked by The Race if finding balance was important for his 2023 decision. .
“And it’s even that – and especially with next year with 24 races – we actually don’t have a lot of time to train on a physical level, so even things like that.
“If I have more time for myself, I’m sure I can be in better shape. Not that it was something that held me back, but just to perfect some things, it’s even having some free time to work on myself.
“It’s not just to go on vacation or anything like that.”
Ricciardo wants a role that will help him “stay alert” and time on the simulator that will help him “keep his eyes peeled”.
It wouldn’t be Ricciardo’s first time in a reserve role in F1 as he was a reserve driver for Toro Rosso in 2011 (pictured above) before bowing out with HRT mid-season and then run for Toro Rosso in 2012.
But back then, Ricciardo took part in every FP1 session for Toro Rosso before joining HRT from the British GP.
Ricciardo says any reserve role in 2023 would be “very different” and agreed with The Race’s suggestion that his status as an eight-time Grand Prix winner puts him in a unique position compared to most third-place drivers .
“Fortunately, I feel like I’ve done enough to make this case a bit unique and respond to it in some way – obviously it has to work on both sides – but it has to be fine with me,” Ricciardo explained. .
“That’s why I don’t want to just jump on the grid next year, I don’t want to just jump into something.
“I want to take this opportunity to make sure I have enough time for myself to feel again what I need to feel about the sport.”
Ricciardo would “undoubtedly” like to spend some time behind the wheel of an F1 car next year under any reserve contract, as nothing else can provide the physical training of a modern F1 car.
“The truth is there’s nothing like the fitness of a car at this level,” Ricciardo said.
“The forces you go through in an F1, you can’t fake them. I can do a ton of neck training and stuff to stay sharp, but you have to get behind the wheel just to challenge your body.
“So from that point of view it’s one thing and just to show some speed it would be nice to have an opportunity, even if it looks like I’m not sure. I would like to drive next year.
Ricciardo indicated little interest in moving full-time to another racing category, but did not rule out the potential benefits of a one-off appearance in another series to stay fit.
“I guess I have to wait and see where I land next year,” Ricciardo said.
“Then it comes down to what am I allowed to do.
“But at the end of the day, if I feel like doing a one-off will benefit me and keep me alert, that’s something I will potentially look into.
“I’m a bit like F1 is so different from a touring car, I don’t know if that would push me away [from F1] After. That’s what I would need to figure out, though.
“I don’t want to say no to anything yet, but ideally I’m spending a few days in an F1 car instead of having a seat somewhere else.”