Daniel Ricciardo says he is welcoming the fact that he will not be on the Formula 1 grid in 2023, adding that he will use his absence from the sport to recharge and secure an F1 return in 2024. Since arriving at McLaren in 2021, Ricciardo has generally struggled to match teammate Lando Norris, and currently has just 29 championship points this year to 101 for the Briton. Despite having a contract with the Woking squad for 2023, it was announced earlier this summer that Ricciardo would be leaving McLaren one year early, to be replaced by rookie Oscar Piastri. The only unconfirmed seats for 2023 are at Haas and Williams, with Ricciardo not thought to be seriously in the running at either outfit, and the Australian acknowledged publicly over the Japanese Grand Prix weekend that he would not be on the grid next year . However, Ricciardo appears to be putting a brave face on his enforced sabbatical, saying he hopes to use the time away to recharge his batteries and focus on securing a drive in 2024. "It's something I've certainly evaluated since the summer break," Ricciardo told Sky F1 of the prospect of not being on the 2023 grid. "I wanted to give it a few races and the more time that passes, the more I feel like it's what I need. Albeit as well the opportunities... there's not really anything in the form of next year! "It's part I would like the break and need to reset a little bit, and part 2024 as well, some other things may open up."
Ricciardo to Mercedes?
Ricciardo has been linked with a potential reserve driver role at Mercedes, who are losing incumbent Nyck de Vries to AlphaTauri at the end of this year. "I think that there could be some better opportunities in 2024, so that's really what all this confirms and now where the sights are set," added Ricciardo. "Certainly the plan is still to be involved in F1. "It's kind of like just hitting pause for a little bit, as I see it - and let's say as far as my F1 career goes the full intention is [to be driving] for '24."