Daniel Ricciardo question could be end of F1 career: Max Verstappen, Lando Norris news
In sport, you’re only as good as your last performance — and it’s not boding well for Daniel Ricciardo.
Another horror year with McLaren will be the Aussie’s last after he was cut loose by the team for Aussie wunderkind Oscar Piastri in 2023.
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The veteran is currently without a team for next year with available seats beginning to dry up.
Although the Alpine seat Piastri rejected is still vacant as yet, the team formerly known as Renault appear to have cooled on a reunion with Ricciardo.
It leaves backmarkers Haas, Williams and Alfa Romeo — although they’re expected to resign Zhou Guanyu for next season — as the only pother real options.
Ricciardo has also been linked to a reserve driver role with the likes of Mercedes or a year away from the sport before trying to rejoin the grid in 2024.
On just 19 points in 2022, Ricciardo is languishing in 14th on the driver’s standings while his teammate Lando Norris is the best of the rest in seventh on the standings, having scored 88 points so far this season.
It’s a bad sign for an F1 star to be so outperformed by their teammate and has raised an uncomfortable question which could spell the end of his career.
Sky Sports commentator and 1996 World Champion Damon Hill said the drop off in form will likely leave teams questioning if he’s lost his speed.
“Danny’s been such a fantastic character for our sport, effervescent and always smiling and stuff, but something’s gone wrong,” said Hill on Sky F1.
“Not only in his pace at McLaren, but also in his strategy for getting himself in a competitive car. Something fell through the cracks there and let’s hope he comes up smelling of roses somewhere and we see him back at the front.”
Asked if it would be worth being a reserve driver, Hill added: “I think there is some logic to that. If you’re at least with a top team, even if you’re in the wings and waiting for the right opportunity, you will have information that is useful to another team perhaps, potentially.
“But every team manager would be looking at him and everyone, every team, will be looking at him and asking ‘where’s the pace gone? Is it coming back?’ And that’s the big question mark. We don’t know.”
Ricciardo has had a torrid time at McLaren but did taste victory at the 2021 Monza Grand Prix, a day McLaren had a 1-2 finish.
But in 2022, he’s had just four top 10 finishes in the 16 races so far.
Although clearly going through a rough patch in his career, Ricciardo is still an eight-time Grand Prix winner and has claimed 32 podiums in his career.
McLaren got plenty of online criticism in the last race in Monza when Ricciardo was brought in early and then asked to hold drivers up behind him in order to give Norris clear air in front of his teammate.
Norris hit out at accusations the team have a No. 1 and No. 2 driver as well.
“I love it when people think they know what they are talking about when in reality they have no idea. Sometimes the complete opposite is the reality,” Norris told Motorsport-Magazin.
“Before every single race we have a meeting where we go through how we can work well together as a team. It’s about how we don’t work as number one and number two.
“Daniel can help me in certain situations and I can help him sometimes. We have that discussion every weekend.
“It’s literally the opposite of a division of roles with number 1 and number 2 drivers. It’s about how we can work better as a unit to have better results at the end.”