McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo has spent much of the last few months with a fair degree of uncertainty over his racing future.
Ricciardo had previously stated that he would not compete for any team in a full-time role and that any discussion around his immediate future would involve a reserve driver position.
Now that Ricciardo was finally able to show some fight and finish P7 in the Mexico Grand Prix, some have questioned why he is ready to throw in the towel so soon in taking a year off.
The Australian driver was asked if he was keen to further his career outside F1 next year.
“I guess I need to wait to see where I land next year,” he said.
“Obviously I’m talking about potentially a reserve role or whatever. Truth is, I haven’t agreed to anything or signed anything yet.
“Then it comes to a question of, what am I allowed to do, is one thing, but ultimately, if I feel maybe doing a one-off will benefit me, and keep me sharp or whatever.
“Then it’s something I’ll potentially look into.
“But I’m kind of like, F1 is so different to maybe a touring car or something, that I don’t know if it will kind of distance me more. So that’s what I would need to work out.
“So yeah, tough. I don’t want to say no yet to anything. But ideally, I’d get some days in an F1 car as opposed to trying to, let’s say, get a seat somewhere else.”
In previous years, Ricciardo has driven a Supercar (2019 and 2016).
With McLaren boss Zak Brown co-owner of Supercars team Walkinshaw Andretti United, there has been some speculation over whether Ricciardo could feature for the team during his F1 hiatus.
Button believes Ricciardo should show interest in Haas seat
There is also the matter of the almost-certain-to-be vacant seat at Haas.
Haas boss Guenther Steiner had previously discussed the challenge at Mick Schumacher’s hands.
If the son of Michael Schumacher was to keep his seat, the only way he could do so was through notching some points.
Schumacher just has 12 points all season.
Former F1 driver Jenson Button questioned why Ricciardo has not taken a more proactive role in trying to feature for Haas alongside Kevin Magnussen.
“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,” Button said.
“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 you 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-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.
“It’s a tricky one and I really struggle to see him coming back to a competitive team after having a year out.”