Daniel Ricciardo says he will assess whether he has the motivation to return to Formula 1 around mid-season.
Similar to Alex Albon a few years ago, the Australian lost his race seat for 2023 following some disappointing campaigns for McLaren.
Having lost his Red Bull seat, Albon – now firmly at Williams – initially stayed in the paddock as the energy drink-owned team’s reserve.
It is a role now occupied by 7-time team race winner Ricciardo, 33 – although 26-year-old Albon sees key differences with the Ricciardo case.
“Mine wasn’t my choice – his one is,” he said.
Indeed, while some might argue that Albon and Ricciardo’s cases are similar, Ricciardo insists he didn’t explore the possibility of a race seat in 2023 because he needed a break.
“I’m going to try to share ideas and be the best member of the team I can be,” said Ricciardo. “That’s really what I want to do, because personally I also want some free time.
“I don’t see it as my last chance. I’m very happy to be where I am right now.”
Albon, though, played down the comparison with Ricciardo’s situation.
“I think he’s a different age and in a different frame of mind,” said the British-born Thai driver. “When I was away from Formula 1, I think I was 24 and there was a lot of hunger and desire to get back in.
“I don’t know as I can only speak for myself, but I imagine Daniel – who has been a very successful racing driver – probably wouldn’t want to join a team unless it was a top team.
“It would be like he’s just restarting his racing career again, which I am more than happy to do. I would do it 10 times over.
“I think that’s really the main difference.”
Ricciardo says he will think about his next move in Formula 1 around mid-season.
“I think I’ll get my answer internally – it’s an internal feeling. I’m sure I’ll have it before the summer, once the season starts, once I’ve been in the simulator and done a few races,” he said.