Daniel Ricciardo many have accidently revealed his Formula 1 future having been overhead telling another driver he plans to take a sabbatical.
The eight-time race winner has been on the F1 grid since 2011, racing for HRT, Toro Rosso, Red Bull, Renault and McLaren, but his career is now in jeopardy.
After many underwhelming performances with McLaren, Ricciardo is set to leave the Woking-based team at the end of this season, just two years into his three-year deal at the end of the season, with fellow Australian Oscar Piastri replacing him.
It was initially thought that he could return to the Renault team, now known as Alpine, but the French outfit have instead set their sights on AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly.
This leaves Ricciardo with very few options on the grid, with seats only available at Alfa Romeo, Haas and Williams, though none of those are likely to appeal to the 33-year-old, who until very recently had become accustomed to fighting at the front of the grid.
With a reluctance to move into another acing series like IndyCar, Ricciardo’s most likely destination for 2023 appears to be on the sidelines, with a view to returning to the grid in 2024.
And it appears that Ricciardo may have accepted that fate, after TV coverage of last weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix picked up on a conversation between the Aussie and Sergio Perez as they were walking to the grid.
Taking a brief break away from F1 has proved beneficial to some drivers over the years most recently with the likes of Esteban Ocon, Alex Albon and Kevin Magnussen.
Ricciardo will next race at this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, where he claimed victory last year, his sole highlight of his time with McLaren.
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