Ricciardo warned it could be ‘game over’ if he accepts third driver role in F1
Daniel Ricciardo has been urged to consider options outside Formula 1 following his McLaren sacking by former world champion Jenson Button.
Ricciardo’s spell with the Woking team will end a year early at the close of 2022 following a hugely disappointing two years following his arrival from Renault (now Alpine).
The Australian had been linked with Haas and a return to Alpine but with those seats set to go to other drivers, it looks as though he will have to settle for a reserve driver role for 2023. Ricciardo has said he would be open to such a move and has reportedly held talks with Mercedes and former team Red Bull.
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But it looks highly unlikely that a race seat will open up for him at either squad in 2024 when he would hope to be back on the grid.
Button does not believe he would benefit from a third driver role, especially as he wouldn’t be eligible to take part in a practice session that teams are mandated to give to ‘young drivers’ on at least two occasions during the season.
“Being a third driver for a driver of his calibre, it’s a very strange situation he’s found himself in,” Button, a former McLaren driver, told Sky Sports after practice at the Japanese Grand Prix. “But the results haven’t been there this year so I can understand the change of drivers for McLaren.
“I don’t know what he’s going to get out of being a third driver, that’s the thing. He’s not a young driver so he can’t drive the car next year at race weekends. So he’s not really going to get anything out of it.
“He’ll probably think ‘Lewis might retire and I could jump in his seat’ but Lewis says he’s going to be around for another five years so he’ll be waiting a long time. He needs to be somewhere where he thinks he can get a seat for 2024. Otherwise, it’s game over because you get forgotten after a year in F1.”
Button and fellow pundit Johnny Herbert believe Ricciardo should cast his net wider than F1 and look at the World Endurance Championship, which includes the iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans.
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“Should he look outside at something like sportscars? Personally, that’s something I would’ve done. If he still has the desire to do racing, he could be very, very successful,” said Herbert.
Button added: “Le Mans, with all the different manufacturers involved, is very exciting. If you get in the door with a manufacturer, it could be a great future for him.
“But he’s not at that point, I don’t think, where he wants to do something else. He might never do something else. Only he knows what’s right for him right now.”
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