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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 28 February 2024

Ricciardo’s plan: Pause and return in 2024

The 33-year-old Australian driver, an eight-time race winner, came to a mutual agreement with McLaren in August to leave the team at the end of the 2022 campaign

Reuters Published 20.10.22, 06:15 AM
Daniel Ricciardo during the Singapore GP

Daniel Ricciardo during the Singapore GP File Picture

Daniel Ricciardo said he intends to return to the Formula One grid in 2024 after “hitting pause” for 2023.

The 33-year-old Australian driver, an eight-time race winner, came to a mutual agreement with McLaren in August to leave the team at the end of the 2022 campaign.

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Ricciardo confirmed that although he couldn’t secure a seat for next season, his career in F1 is not over.

“Certainly the plan is still to be involved in F1,” he told the Mirror.

“It’s kind of like just hitting pause for a little bit, as I see it — and let’s say as far as my F1 career goes the full intention is (to be driving) for ‘24.”

Ricciardo enters this Sunday’s United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, in 12th place in the driver standings.

His most recent win came at the Italian Grand Prix in September 2021.

Ricciardo, aged 33, has been in F1 some 11 years, winning eight races and taking 32 podiums during a successful career. However this season the McLaren driver has struggled for form with just one top-five finish at Singapore earlier this month.

Haas and Williams still have seats open for next season but Ricciardo says he is taking a year out and hope that an opportunity opens up to race at a leading constructor. He said: “It’s something I’ve certainly evaluated since the summer break.”

Max’s ‘self-realisation’

Ricciardo believes newly-crowned world champion Max Verstappen took his biggest step as a driver during their final season as teammates at Red Bull back in 2018 — claiming it was then that the Dutchman “had a bit of a self-realisation”.

Ricciardo feels that the most noticeable change in Verstappen’s approach came some four years ago, when he emerged stronger from a series of early-season incidents — including a dramatic clash between the pair in Azerbaijan — to rack up podium finishes and race wins as the 2018 campaign wore on.

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