Aussie F1 star Daniel Ricciardo reveals he is talking to ‘everyone’ to secure a drive for 2023

Perth-born F1 racer Daniel Ricciardo has confirmed that he will either be down the back of the grid or in a reserve driver role next year, ruling out a sabbatical from the sport he’s competed in since 2011.

Ricciardo, racing in Singapore this weekend, has had a torrid two seasons with McLaren, in which he’s been destroyed by precocious teammate Lando Norris, with this year’s stats showing him lagging 2-14 in qualifying and 3-10 in races, when they could be compared – and with 69 fewer points.

Despite being under enormous pressure to save his F1 career, Ricciardo was all smiles on the paddock at Singapore ahead of a crucial grand prix while he negotiates for a new drive

While mechanical issues have plagued the Aussie’s tenure at McLaren, It has created an untenable situation that led to Ricciardo’s three-year contract being cut short with fellow Aussie Oscar Piastri to be elevated from F2 as his replacement.

It leaves the 33-year-old veteran of 226 F1 starts with his future in the sport unknown.

But, while Ricciardo hasn’t been publicly linked to any of the remaining seats on the 2023 grid, including Alpine, Haas, AlphaTauri, and Williams, he says that it’s a different story in private.

The Aussie star was all smiles ahead of the Singapore GP, photobombing AlphaTauri drivers Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda, crashing English driver George Russell’s media conference and flipping a scooter on the track.

And he declared that all options remained on the table. 

Ricciardo jokes that he 'used to be a cool kid'

Playing around on a scooter on the Singapore track

Ricciardo jokes that he ‘used to be a cool kid’ as he plays around on a scooter on the track

‘My team is talking with, I want to say, pretty much everyone. They are having conversations,’ he said to the Daily Mail Australia in Singapore.

‘So we’re just trying to put it all together and figure out what makes the most sense. It’s not that they’re not calling or they’re not interested, though I’m not coming from a place of overconfidence, we’re just doing our due diligence.’

But, with AlphaTauri talking with impressive Monza debutant Nyck de Vries, Ferrari selecting for Haas, and Williams hoping for American F2 driver Logan Seargant or De Vries, Ricciardo’s options are limited – and a reserve role at a bigger team next year could potentially deliver better options for 2024.

‘That’s the two, I would say, realistic options. Like it’s not to be anywhere else,’ he said. ‘I love other disciplines of motorsport, but I don’t see myself there, at least. I feel as well, if I jump into something like that, it closes the door in F1. It [would] feel like I’ve checked out and I haven’t.’

While there are limited options available with only Alpine, Haas and Williams yet to confirm their drivers for 2023, Ricciardo said he was not going to just leap on the first opportunity available.

The competitive juices still run hot for the Aussie and he wants to be in a position to claim more race wins, where ever he lands next season. 

Ricciardo laughing and joking with AlphaTauri drivers Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda

Ricciardo laughing and joking with AlphaTauri drivers Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda

‘I’m still keen to be part of F1. Of course, Plan A would to be on the grid, so nothing’s changed, but I don’t want to just jump at the first seat available. I know the landscape has probably changed as well at the end of next year with contracts or whatever, so I’m remaining open.

‘I know that if I choose to take a reserve role or not race next year, nothing’s guaranteed. So that comes at a risk, but that’s what we are weighing up. At this stage, especially with a top team, there are no guarantees.’

‘What fighting at the front does — when you’ve had that taste, it’s real. That’s ultimately where I want to be.

Ricciardo skips in the paddock during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Singapore

Ricciardo skips in the paddock during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Singapore

‘I guess I don’t want to just race to race. I want to race with a true belief and understanding that I could be back on the podium.’

Ricciardo, who will have to wait until to Japan for the upgrades that Norris has for Singapore, has been impressive under Singapore’s lights in the recent past with four podiums between 2014 and 2017.

He said time at home had energised him, resulting in the off-grid antics at Singapore that saw Russell call him ‘a big orange distraction’.

‘After Monza we did a bit of sim and some factory stuff but then I got to get home, and it was kind of just nice being around family and switching off and spending some time at the farm and even just doing fun things — riding bikes and just being a bit of a kid again,’ he said. 

The Singapore GP is scheduled to get underway on Sunday with lights out scheduled for 11pm AEST. 

The event will feature night racing from F1, all-female W Series, and Asian sports car heroes TSS The Super Series – and music acts including Marshmello, Westlife, Green Day, Black Eyed Peas, Suede, The Kid LAROI, and TLC.