An ex-Formula 1 driver has cast doubt over Daniel Ricciardo’s plans of returning to a seat in 2024 as he looks to take a year out.
Sky Sports F1’s Jenson Button told reporters he doubts the McLaren driver will be able to return to the grid if he does not continue racing in 2023.
Ricciardo’s potential deals for next year have been dropping off since his current outfit, McLaren, opted to cancel his contract in advance of its end date.
There is now only one potential seat left on the grid for next season with Haas, but Ricciardo has made it clear that he has no interest in joining the American team.
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When asked, the eight-time race winner suggested that his best option is to take a year off, but whether or not he will step away from the sport altogether, or take up a reserve role at Mercedes or Red Bull, is yet to be seen.
It is understood that the 33-year-old has high hopes of getting back into Formula 1 in 2024 however, Button believes that may not happen.
Speaking on Any Driven Monday, he said: “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.”
Meanwhile, Ricciardo said his priority was staying in the sport as a reserve next year, but nothing has been confirmed at this point.
“I still want to be in the sport, and I want to be working with a team still with the ambition to be back on the grid in 2024,” he said.
“I feel like a bit of time away from a race seat will do me good, and then try to rebuild on something for 2024.
“I’m not done but it will look a bit different.”