2009 Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button has doubts about Daniel Ricciardo returning to the Formula 1 grid if he doesn’t have a drive in the 2023 season.
With all but one of the F1 line-ups for next year already settled, the only seat in dispute is Kevin Magnussen’s team-mate at Haas.
The Australian driver has previously confirmed that he has been in talks with some F1 teams about a potential reserve driver role after twelve years of being a household name on the grid.
However, Button believes that if he sits it out, it will be tough for him to come back: “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. 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 your car a bit more, and then people forget what happened the year before.
“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.
“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.”
Ricciardo had one of the best drives of his season in Mexico City, winning driver of the day and keeping seventh place due to sheer race pace on the soft compound tyres.
He received a ten-second time penalty for causing a clumsy collision with Yuki Tsunoda at turn six which ended the Japanese driver’s afternoon but put on an overtaking clinic to claw back the time.