“I really struggle to see him coming back to a competitive team after having a year out,” said Jenson Button about Daniel Ricciardo, who is set to be off the grid in 2023 but is targeting a reserve role
Last Updated: 31/10/22 7:49pm
Jenson Button believes people forget how good a driver Daniel Ricciardo is and feels he should drop down to a lower ranked team, rather than take a year out from Formula One
Sky Sports F1’s Jenson Button says he doubts Daniel Ricciardo will be able to return to the grid if – as now looks certain – the Australian is not racing in Formula 1 in 2023.
Ricciardo has seen his already limited options dry up since having his McLaren contract cancelled early and there is currently only one seat remaining for next season, at Haas, who Ricciardo has made it clear he has no interest in.
The eight-time race winner now looks set to take a year off, either away from the sport completely or with a reserve role at Mercedes or Red Bull with the hope of getting back into F1 in 2024.
Button however, believes that is the wrong decision for his future.
“I guess he didn’t want to drop too far down the grid and work with a team that’s more towards the rear, because it’s difficult for a driver coming from a team that is almost winning races at times to suddenly know you’re fighting for points,” said the 2009 world champion on Any Driven Monday.
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“It is tough. But I still think it would have been a better move for him.
“Go into a team, work hard, show people what you can do, in a car that maybe suits your car a bit more, and then people forget what happened the year before.
“That’s the issue now, people forget how good Ricciardo is because he’s had such a difficult year and a half or two years.
“But he has the talent, and in a car that suits him, he would show his skill and then he has the opportunity to race in a top team again. But sitting out? People just remember what happened last year.
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“It’s a tricky one and I really struggle to see him coming back to a competitive team after having a year out.”
Button’s comments come off the back of one of Ricciardo’s best races of the season as he claimed a driver-of-the-day seventh at the Mexico City GP, thanks to a late charge with some characteristically epic overtakes.
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Speaking to Sky Sports F1 post-race, Ricciardo said his priority was staying in the sport as a reserve next year.
“I still want to be in the sport, and I want to be working with a team still with the ambition to be back on the grid in 2024,” he said.
“I feel like a bit of time away from a race seat will do me good, and then try to rebuild on something for 2024.
“I’m not done but it will look a bit different.”
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Ricciardo, who has struggled alongside Lando Norris since joining McLaren in 2021, added: “No doubt, the last two years have been quite hard especially when you put a lot in and when it doesn’t quite come back. It can get you down.
“I know the value of having even like a summer break, just stepping away gives you a different perspective.
“The way the seasons are it’s pretty relentless, you don’t really get a chance to rebuild.
“Everyone’s different but I truly believe that will be, in a way, a blessing in disguise for me. By doing less, I’ll achieve more.
“I’m certainly talking to teams, but I still want to obviously keep a foot in the door. As I said, for 2024.
“I’m sure seeing the lights go out in race one, I’ll already have that itch so I will want to be back in 2024.”