Daniel Ricciardo and several other F1 drivers appear to have ruled themselves out of replacing Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin for 2023. Vettel's announcement on Thursday that he would retire from F1 at the end of 2022 means there is a vacancy at Aston Martin alongside Lance Stroll from next year. Ricciardo has struggled at McLaren so far this season, having scored only 19 points to teammate Lando Norris' 70, and there had been rumours that the Australian may be leaving the Woking-based outfit at the end of the year. Ricciardo subsequently took to social media to deny any suggestion he would be leaving McLaren, and was equally unequivocal when asked about the Aston Martin vacancy on the eve of the Hungarian Grand Prix. "Nothing against [Aston Martin], but as I said last week, my future is clear, and it's here [at McLaren]," Ricciardo told media, including RacingNews365.com .
Other drivers also deny Aston Martin links
In addition to Ricciardo, several other drivers also distanced themselves from the seat at Aston Martin, including Alex Albon, who emphasised his focus on his current team, Williams. "Obviously, Aston Martin are a great team," said Albon. "They're clearly expanding as a team as well, but the focus right now has to be on this year." Esteban Ocon also stressed his happiness with Alpine, where he is contracted until 2024, and added that he had already driven for the team now known as Aston Martin in a previous guise as Force India. "I've been [there] already!" said Ocon. "If you look at my Twitter account from 2018, I've been racing for the team back then. "I'm good where I am at Alpine at the moment, but I know the team very well and I know what they're capable of."
Bottas finds humour in his situation
Valtteri Bottas ruled himself out of the running by referencing his long-term deal with Alfa Romeo, quipping that such job security made a nice change from his previous year-by-year arrangement at Mercedes. "I never believed I could say this, but I have a contract! So I'm good," said Bottas. Kevin Magnussen, who rejoined Haas on a multi-year deal on the eve of the 2022 season, also issued a succinct denial. "I'm contracted for next year, and very happy at Haas," said the Dane.