Oct.24 (GMM) Daniel Ricciardo has now confirmed Gunther Steiner’s suspicion that the Australian does not want to keep his Formula 1 racing dream alive at Haas in 2023.
Team boss Steiner said in Austin that he didn’t know why the axed McLaren driver seemed to prefer a reserve seat with a top team next year rather than a full-time race seat in the midfield.
Currently, Ricciardo is not even in the midfield, as he finished 16th on merit in the US GP compared to teammate Lando Norris’ sixth at the chequered flag.
“Honestly, it’s been just so far off the pace that I simply can’t lean on it, can’t push, can’t get the time out of it. To have such a big margin again remains a mystery,” he said.
“When you think it can’t get worse it does. I don’t know how I’m continuing to continue because painful is an understatement.”
It was thought that Ricciardo was set to become Mercedes’ official reserve next year, but stronger rumours now suggest he is close to signing up for a similar role with Red Bull.
“I don’t know, for now it’s just rumours,” Ricciardo said when asked in Austin.
“Am I talking? Yes. But we haven’t put pen to paper or anything like that yet.”
He also rejected McLaren supremo Zak Brown’s offer of a move to Indycar.
“Ovals, really not,” said Ricciardo. “Ten years ago I would have said yes. But I can honestly say that I don’t feel good with ovals.”
Curiously, however, he has also said ‘no’ to Haas.
“With what’s available now, it’s better to focus my goal on something else,” he insisted. “I think it would be better for me to stick to my plan.”
2009 world champion Jenson Button admits that Ricciardo’s situation is not only “sad”, but also “weird”.
“It’s a tough one,” he told Sky UK. “I don’t think he’s checked out. Daniel will always want to fight but it’s just not working for him.”
As for the reserve driver plan, Button said that move for the 33-year-old winner of eight grands prix is just “weird”.
“It’s just weird for me. It doesn’t work,” he said. “But that’s obviously what he’s chosen to do.
“I’d rather he was racing in Formula 1 in a team that’s further down the grid. Then he can prove himself again and maybe get a drive further up the grid.
“But as a third driver, people will just remember his last race this year.”