Outgoing Mclaren driver Daniel Ricciardo admits that his chances to remain on the grid for the 2023 season have ended. The Aussie driver was one of the many hopefuls for the vacant F1 seat at Alpine. On Saturday, however, Alpine confirmed that they are signing Pierre Gasly.
The move all but confirmed Ricciardo’s sabbatical from the sport. While he has been vocal in his desire to remain in F1, he also said he would only consider driving for a top points-scoring team.
“The Gasly news I was aware of, and I knew they were talking and were very interested, so I would say that’s no surprise,” Ricciardo told the media. “We were trying to navigate our way around and figure out what’s next. The reality is now that I won’t be on the grid in 2023. It’s now just a case of trying to set up for 2024. I think there could be better opportunities then, and that’s really what all this confirms now, where the sides are set.”
After Nyck De Vries left the role of reserve driver for Mercedes, Ricciardo is likely to replace him as he doesn’t want to leave the sport entirely.
Why did Mclaren choose to let Ricciardo go
Ricciardo joined McLaren in 2021 after Carlos Sainz departed for Ferrari. His partnership with Lando Norris was expected to bear good results as he was an experienced replacement for Sainz. He also got along very well with his McLaren teammate. Therefore the overall morale of the team was fairly positive.
However, in both the 2021 and 2022 seasons, Norris outperformed Ricciardo by considerable margins. His only highlight for driving with McLaren so far was winning the 2021 Italian GP.
That was his only contribution to McLaren regarding race wins or podium finishes. His Lack of pace caused McLaren to lose THE battle for 3rd place finish in the Constructors table to Ferrari in 2021. In 2022 he has been outscored by Norris by at least 71 points.
Mclaren ultimately decided that his contributions weren’t needed further. They signed his fellow countryman, the rookie Oscar Piastri from 2023 onwards.
While his time at McLaren didn’t result in any success, the 33 year is still very fast, and he is hopeful of finding his form again in a new team in 2024.