Daniel Ricciardo would consider a demotion to reserve driver status next year if it keeps his foot in the Formula 1 door.
The Australian also recently admitted a sabbatical next year was a possibility, and in a ‘hot mic’ moment from Zandvoort admitted to rival Sergio Perez that he could indeed take a year out.
But now, the axed-for-2023 McLaren driver said he might not simply take a season off, but instead remain connected with the sport as an official reserve.
“I’m pretty open minded with any scenario,” said the 33-year-old, who has won eight career grands prix.
“There’s pros with having some time off as well, but then also staying active is good. That’s why I kind of want to hear everything. Even if it’s as reserve, I don’t want to be too proud to say I’m too good for that.”
McLaren is turning instead to a much younger Australian next year – the reigning Formula 2 champion Oscar Piastri whose departure from Alpine was highly controversial and contested.
Ricciardo admits he met up with Piastri’s manager Mark Webber at Zandvoort, who apologised for the saga.
“Obviously I know how this sport is – it’s nothing personal to me,” Ricciardo said. “He wanted to make sure that I knew that and understood that and just to make sure that I’m ok.”
Ricciardo revealed that he has also spoken to 21-year-old Piastri and told him the situation is “nothing personal” and “I want him to have a good run in Formula 1”.
But what comes next for Ricciardo – who drove for HRT, Toro Rosso and Red Bull before his career entered a decline with his moves to Renault and McLaren – might be a humiliating demotion to reserve driver status.
“I still definitely have the ability to love a project and they are things I will definitely give some thought to,” he said.
“It could be something that sets me up better for the future and next year may be one of those years where I need a bit of patience. I wouldn’t just give up on F1.”