OPINION | Ricciardo should become F1 pundit in 2023 and hope for a '24 miracle

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  • Full-time 2023 racing seats are slim for ousted McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo.
  • The Aussie could take up a reserve role at Mercedes-AMG, putting him on the sidelines for at least one year.
  • If he does not race in 2023, Ricciardo could co-host one of F1 TV's shows.

Daniel Ricciardo is without a racing seat for the 2023 season, and his chances of securing one are decreasing by the day. The McLaren seat, which he believed was his until the end of next year when his contract expires, was given to Formula 1 debutant and fellow Australian Oscar Piastri.

The announcement's timing wasn't well-timed either, as it left Ricciardo on the fringes of being sidelined for at least one season. And competitive options are slim, with Haas rumoured to consider Nico Hulkenberg to replace fellow German Mick Schumacher, and AlphaTauri either sticking with Pierre Gasly or replacing him with an unlikely candidate in Nyck de Vries.

Alpine, Ricciardo's old team when they were still called Renault, could look to sign Schumacher or Gasly - provided the latter can get out of his Red Bull/AlphaTauri contract. Ricciardo is not an option.

Is there still hope for Ricciardo to secure a racing seat in 2023, then?

Daniel Ricciardo,mclaren,f1,formula 1,formula one
Daniel Ricciardo

Try a different approach

Sadly, Ricciardo's performances in the McLaren the last two years have not been all that great. Bar the win in Italy last year, he has not had a noteworthy performance that could have swung the pendulum in his favour. The writing has been on the wall for some time, but the Aussie believed the English team would respect his contract.

With his limited options, it has been rumoured that Ricciardo received an offer from the Mercedes-AMG team to be their official reserve driver. This will put him on the sidelines for 2023 - at least - but he will be the team's first option to replace Lewis Hamilton or George Russell if either driver can't fulfil driving duties. He will also get opportunities to participate in first practice sessions at selected race weekends.

READ: Ousted and without a seat - Three possible F1 teams Daniel Ricciardo could join in 2023

McLaren reportedly bought Ricciardo out of his contract for between $10-25 million, with the agreement being that he must pay a percentage back should he secure a 2023 racing seat.

During the recent Italian Grand Prix weekend, Ricciardo joined F1 journalist Will Buxton in one of the post-race interviews where they interviewed 2022 Formula 2 champion Felipe Drugovich. Towards the end of the interview, Buxton said to Ricciardo: "This is what I told you the other day, is that if you take that Mercedes reserve driver, you're going to be hosting the Post-Race Show next year with me."

The smiling Australian responded in jest: "I'm definitely not doing it then!"

Our take: Ricciardo should take Mercedes-AMG up on their offer and take a year off from full-time racing. It will allow him to find his 'speed' again and possibly return to racing in 2024, replacing Hamilton if the seven-time champion calls time on his F1 career. Plus, his bank account will be brimmed with the McLaren incentives.

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