Daniel Ricciardo has not ruled out the possibility of racing in Formula One next season but said he will not be too proud to sit out for a year if the right opportunity is not there.
Ricciardo is a free agent at the end of the year following McLaren’s decision to pay out to end his contract one year early.
The Australian’s future was a hot topic in F1 over the triple header of European races. His options for a 2023 race seat are Alpine, Williams and Haas, or taking a year out from racing with a view to returning in 2024.
Ricciardo wants an appealing project to join if he is to race next season.
“I’ve certainly accepted if I’m not to be on the grid next year, I’m OK with that,” Ricciardo said. “I’ve accepted that I’m not going to do everything — or my team’s not going to do everything — just to put me on the grid if it’s not right or it doesn’t make sense.
“This has been challenging, and if I am on the grid I want to know that it’s a place that I can enjoy it and feel like I can thrive, like an environment I feel like I can thrive in. Like I said, I don’t want to just jump in a car for the sake of it.
“I’ll try to understand what’s best for next year. Not in an over-confident or cocky way, but if it’s not meant to be then I’m totally OK with that, I’m not going to be too proud. We certainly haven’t given up on it, but that’s kind of where my head’s at at the moment.”
Ricciardo’s presence on the driver market has likely stalled decisions for all three teams.
Alpine has its sights set on AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, but that move now appears to be reliant on Red Bull adding Dutch driver Nyck de Vries to its junior team with Colton Herta unlikely to be granted a superlicence exemption.
De Vries is also in contention for Williams after scoring points on his F1 debut with the team at the Italian Grand Prix.
Haas has said it is no rush to make a decision, with Mick Schumacher’s form improving. It is understood the team is considering Nico Hulkenberg and Antonio Giovinazzi, while it also has not ruled itself out of the race for Ricciardo.