McLaren is not against the idea of retaining Daniel Ricciardo for 2023, with the Australian continuing in a reserve driver role with the team.
Ricciardo will depart his full-time role with McLaren at the end of the current campaign, bringing his original contract to a conclusion one season early.
Ricciardo has struggled for performance at McLaren since joining it in 2021, and will be replaced by rookie Oscar Piastri next season, following a contract dispute with Alpine..
Although his future plans are not yet known, Ricciardo has confirmed that he won’t be racing in F1 next year – however he wishes to remain part of the grid and assist a team.
He has been linked to Mercedes and his former Red Bull squad, but McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl admits that it is “possible” he could remain with the Woking-based outfit in 2023.
“That’s a discussion we haven’t had yet,” Seidl said, as quoted by the Spanish edition of Motorsport.com.
“It’s a discussion we usually have in the winter, as you know also, we had an agreement with other teams to share [referring to Piastri], so there’s absolutely no, let’s say, bad feelings between Daniel and us, so it’s possible.”
Is a fresh start the best option for Ricciardo?
How much Ricciardo would gain from his side taking on a third driver role with McLaren is a valuable question.
The team will never accept him back as a full-time driver, as the 34-year-old is hoping to return to a full-time drive in 2024.
While remaining part of the McLaren outfit would showcase his maturity to not be deterred from a difficult situation, linking up with a fresh team (perhaps Mercedes?) would leave him in a stronger position.
Both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have welcomed the chance to work with the eight-time grand prix winner.
He would gain more knowledge through the backing of a new organisation, and have more voices in his corner shouting his praise.