Daniel Ricciardo has confirmed that he will not be on the Formula 1 grid in 2023 after losing his McLaren seat to Oscar Piastri.
The Australian has conceded that he will be looking at securing a seat for 2024 instead, following the news that Pierre Gasly has signed for Alpine for next year and Nyck de Vries will be taking his place at AlphaTauri.
"The Gasly news I was aware of and I knew they were talking and were very interested, so I would say thats no surprise. We were trying to navigate our way around and figure out what's next," he told media.
"The reality is now that I won't be on the grid in 2023, it's now just [a case of] trying to setup for 2024.
"I think there could be better opportunities then and that's really what all this confirms now, where the sides are set."
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Ricciardo: "Plan is to still be involved in F1"
When asked if he will use his 2023 sabbatical to engage in other motorsport categories, Ricciardo says he is fully focused on making a comeback in 2024 as his target.
This comes amid ongoing speculation that he could take up a reserve driver role at another top team to fill the stop-gap.
"The plan is to still be involved in F1, this is like just hitting pause for a little bit as far as my F1 career goes. The full intention is for 2024.
"Sure this [sabbatical] could open up opportunities to do this stuff, but if I feel like its going to deviate away from my target then I will still say its not really where I'm looking as 'final call' as it sounds.
"The truth is, mentally I'm still engaged in this [F1] and I think a bit of time off or out of the seat will do me good, so I would probably use that instead of jumping into something else and staying busy in a different category.
"I'll still pretty convincingly say that it [driving] won't happen anywhere else."