Jenson Button says it is unlikely that Daniel Ricciardo will return to Formula 1 after his expected absence from the grid in 2023.
Having been dropped by McLaren after a miserable 2022, Ricciardo has shown little interest in the one remaining seat on the 2023 grid at Haas.
While Ricciardo has publicly accepted that he will not be racing in F1 in 2023, the Australian has stated his intention to return to the sport in 2024, perhaps after taking a reserve driver role with another team.
However, speaking on Sky F1’s Any Driven Monday, Button said he believes Ricciardo should have made more of an effort to find a race seat in F1 next year, even if that meant joining a backmarker team.
"I guess he didn't want to drop too far down the grid and work with a team that's more towards the rear, because it's difficult for a driver coming from a team that is almost winning races at times to suddenly know you're fighting for points," said Button.
"It is tough. But I still think it would have been a better move for him.
"Go into a team, work hard, show people what you can do, in a car that maybe suits you a bit more, and then people forget what happened the year before."
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Button – Ricciardo's reputation is damaged
Button added that Ricciardo’s difficult two years at McLaren had tarnished his previously healthy reputation in F1, with the Australian proving a multiple Grand Prix winner with Red Bull between 2014 and 2018.
"That's the issue now, people forget how good Ricciardo is because he's had such a difficult year and a half or two years," said Button.
"But he has the talent, and in a car that suits him, he would show his skill and then he has the opportunity to race in a top team again. But sitting out? People just remember what happened last year.
"It's a tricky one and I really struggle to see him coming back to a competitive team after having a year out."
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