Daniel Ricciardo is hoping to "rebuild" during his time away from the F1 grid in 2023 after what he admits has been a challenging two years.
The Australian joined McLaren on a multi-year contract for the 2021 season, but struggled in his first campaign with the team. His highlight came at the Italian Grand Prix, where he clinched victory ahead of teammate Lando Norris.
Things did not improve greatly in 2022 for Ricciardo, and it was confirmed in August that the driver and McLaren had mutually agreed to terminate his contract early, meaning that he will leave the squad at the end of the season.
Since the news was announced, Ricciardo has revealed that he will not be in a Formula 1 race seat next year but has voiced his intention to return in 2024, with the possibility remaining of him taking a reserve driver role.
Ricciardo admits McLaren struggles have been tough
With his relationship with McLaren not working out as hoped, Ricciardo acknowledges that the past two years have been difficult.
"No doubt, the last two years have been quite hard," Ricciardo told Sky Sports F1.
"Especially when you put a lot in and it doesn't come back, it can get you down."
As such, Ricciardo is hoping that the unexpected break in 2023 will turn out to be beneficial to him.
"I know the value of even a summer break," he explained.
"I know stepping away just gives you a different perspective. The way the seasons are, it's pretty relentless [so] you don't really get a chance to kind of rebuild.
"Everyone's different, but I truly believe that will be a blessing in disguise."
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2023 plans not yet sorted, says Ricciardo
Speculation has continued in recent weeks over Ricciardo's future plans, with the 33-year-old previously denying in October that any deal had been signed after he was linked with a return to Red Bull in a reserve role.
Speaking after the Mexican Grand Prix – in which he put in one of his strongest drives of the season to finish P7 – Ricciardo insisted that he still did not have anything officially in place for 2023.
"I honestly don't [know]," the eight-time race winner said.
"I'm certainly talking to teams, but I still want to obviously keep a foot in the door as I said for 2024.
"I'm sure seeing the lights go out in race one [in 2023], I will already have that itch, so I will want to be back in '24."
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