Daniel Ricciardo says he is “assessing everything” regarding his future but any notion of replacing Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes was dismissed by the seven-time world champion.
The Australian is without a drive for 2023 after having his contract terminated early by McLaren, and RACER understands Ricciardo is seriously considering a sabbatical that could include a year as a reserve driver. After a report in the British press that Ricciardo could join Mercedes and be lined up as Hamilton’s replacement should he retire at the end of 2023, Ricciardo made clear he has nothing finalized.
“I’m really assessing everything,” Ricciardo said. “In short, I don’t have anything teed up yet; I don’t have anything confirmed. I think when I do, I will be the first to tell you, so there’s no reason for me to hold back any information now. There are no secrets, it’s all open and out there.
“I’m sure over time the right thing, whatever that ends up being, will make sense and I think as well it’s not just about what’s right for next year but what’s right for my future. It goes beyond 2023. It’s complex but when I know, you will.”
While Hamilton stated his belief Ricciardo should still be on the grid, he says he has no plans of walking away from Formula 1 at the end of next year and is expecting to remain with Mercedes.
“I think he should be racing, personally,” Hamilton said. “I think he is far too talented and he deserves the right to be amongst us all racing. Of course, if he is a part of our team that would be great, but that role is not what really is best for him. If I was managing him, he’d be racing.
“For years we have been going around and up and down with stories of retirement and stopping. For me, I feel healthier than I’ve ever felt as I focus a lot on that. I feel fit, I love what I’m doing and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon — sorry buddy!
“But my goal was always to be with Mercedes since I signed with them in 1997 and I love that we have the long partnership we have. I feel like we are embarking on a lot of really positive things, not only in the sport but outside, and I think there is a lot to accomplish together. I want to be a part of that and I will always be with Mercedes until the day I die. I feel like I can race quite a bit longer, so I will be potentially steering towards that.”