Daniel Ricciardo has been one of the most popular drivers on the F1 circuit over the past decade due to his attitude and general interest in keeping everyone entertained.
He will not feature as a full-time driver next season, after McLaren decided to terminate his contract following two unsuccessful years.
Ricciardo finished 2022 in 11th position in the drivers’ standings.
Although it wasn’t a good year for McLaren in terms of the car, the younger and less experienced Lando Norris was by far more proficient than Ricciardo, finishing 7th.
While fans are disappointed that they won’t get to see all that much of Ricciardo next season after he signed for Red Bull as the team’s reserve driver, he is at least earning a considerable amount of money.
That opinion has been brought out by former F1 executive Mark Gallagher, who believes that Ricciardo has “made a vast amount of money” and doesn’t deserve too much sympathy.
In many ways, that is true, as this will be Ricciardo’s best year in terms of financial payouts since entering the sport a decade ago.
That it comes in a year when he doesn’t have a full-time role probably makes it an even sweeter deal for the Australian, who will have far less pressure to perform.
“If Formula 1 loses Daniel, if he does disappear from F1, I’ve no doubt he’s going to have a big career elsewhere in motorsport,” Gallagher said.
“We shouldn’t feel too sorry for him because he’s made a vast amount of money out of Formula 1.
“So from a purely financial perspective, he’s had a very lucrative career and that’s been terrific.
“He will feel that he never quite achieved his potential and that will be the one thing that probably he thinks about as he gets older. There were probably better things he could have done from a purely performance perspective in his career.”
Gallagher said that Ricciardo already made his choice of valuing the financial side of things when he signed a bumper deal while leaving Red Bull.
He suggested that Ricciardo was keen to get some peace, having been in a rather gruelling environment in recent years.
“It’s been a very different experience at McLaren,” Gallagher said.
“I read the details of his interviews several times, because the more I read it, the more I felt, ‘wow, Daniel is quite confused.’
“On the one hand, he wants to go back to basics, but then on the other, he talks about the danger of overthinking.
“He slightly complains about the fact that he’s surrounded by engineers who just talk data and complexity and try this and try that.