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‘The reality is I won’t be on the grid in 2023’ says Ricciardo, as Gasly and De Vries moves confirmed

Daniel Ricciardo has hinted that it is now virtually certain he will not be on the F1 grid in 2023, following news that Pierre Gasly and Nyck de Vries have signed up to Alpine and AlphaTauri respectively for next season.

Due to the acquisitions of Gasly and De Vries, only two realistic berths will remain open with teams next year, with Haas and Williams.

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But with Ricciardo – who was announced in August that he would be leaving his McLaren team a year ahead of his contract end date – he recently hinted that he was willing to take a sabbatical in 2023 before attempting to return. to the F1 grid in 2024, the Australian seemed to confirm that this was now his plan when he faced the media after qualifying 11 at the Japanese Grand Prix.

When asked about the news that Pierre Gasly would be moving to Alpine – which was confirmed early Saturday morning in Suzuka – Ricciardo replied: “Frankly, I was aware of the Gasly news. I knew they had been talking for a while and I knew they were very interested in Pierre so I’d say I was prepared for that and no surprise.

“We tried to navigate around that and figure out what the next step was, but I think the reality now is that I won’t be on the starting grid in ’23.

“I think it’s just trying to line up for ’24 now,” added the eight-time race winner. “I think there could be better opportunities then, so that’s really what confirms all this and where the bar is.”

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After previously telling the media that a reserve driver position with a top team was a possibility for 2023 – with Mercedes, for example, interested in the Australian’s services for next year, especially now that they have lost reserve driver De Vries. to AlphaTauri – Ricciardo redoubled his resolve to keep a foot in the Formula 1 paddock, rather than experiment with other racing categories.

“Certainly the plan is still to be involved in F1,” said Ricciardo, who has endured a tough 2022, scoring 29 points for teammate Lando Norris’ 100 – with compatriot Oscar Piastri joining him at McLaren next year. replaced,” and this is kindly like hitting pause. That’s the way I see it as far as my F1 career goes.

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“The full intent is for ’24. Secure, [racing in other series] could provide opportunities to maybe do some of those things, but if I feel it’s going to deviate from my goal, I’d still say it’s not really what I’m looking for. As cool as it sounds to compete in something else, the truth is I’m not there mentally yet.

“I’m still so into this, and I think a little time off or getting out of a chair will probably do me some good, so I’d probably use that instead of trying to jump in somewhere else and keep busy in a other category So I’d still say pretty convincingly that it wouldn’t happen anywhere else.

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