Daniel Ricciardo, despite his wealth of talent, hasn’t had the smoothest of rides during his Formula 1 career. And now confirmed to be ousted from McLaren to make way for fresh Australian talent Oscar Piastri, Ricciardo is hoping his F1 career doesn’t diminish with it. Fortunately, we could still see the Honey Badger in 2023, according to reports.
According to Canal+ (via Fox Sports), Australian F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo was spotted stepping out of Mercedes’ hospitality suite at the recent Singapore Grand Prix, which saw Ricciardo finish in an impressive 5th position, ahead of both Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes’ second driver, George Russell.
The French TV station alleges Ricciardo didn’t just visit Mercedes to have a chat over some pretzels and bratwurst, but was instead there to negotiate a potential reserve driver spot for the 2023 season.
In fact, it’s claimed the deal is all but confirmed. So, while we’re unlikely to see Daniel make appearance at many race weekends in 2023, he seems to see a reserve driver role at Mercedes as a more lucrative and attractive option than an actual driving seat at one of the teams lower down the grid.
Before this recent report, Ricciardo was potentially going to take at least a year away from Formula 1 in 2023. He was allegedly heard saying to Red Bull driver, Sergio Perez, “I’ll take a year off, then come back in 2024.” But he has also said he is still as in love with the sport now as he was when he first entered F1.
Following the confirmation that Oscar Piastri would take Daniel’s seat at McLaren for the 2023 season – which itself was a complete and utter farce – speculation as to where Daniel would end up in 2023 was rife.
The most obvious options for the racing driver from Perth, Western Australia, were the likes of Haas or even Alpine (Ricciardo competed for the former Renault team, which became Alpine) but given the slightly sour relationship between the two parties following Daniel’s departure for McLaren, it may not have been the most fruitful of partnerships.
A reserve driver spot at Mercedes could be a genius move for Daniel. He’ll have access to one undoubtedly one of the sport’s best ever teams – despite Mercedes’ lacklustre performance in 2022 – and won’t have the pressure to perform at the very highest level. Obviously, it will be unfortunate to not see Danny Ric not racing at every race weekend, but if that sacrifice means he can continue to hold his head high, we’re in full support.