Formula 1 Racing

Ricciardo ‘mentally not there’ with IndyCar, set on F1 role in 2023

Patricio O'Ward, Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet

Ricciardo is facing a stint on the F1 sidelines as he waits to see if a race seat opens up for 2024. He is widely tipped to return to Red Bull Racing next year in a role that could include reserve and test duties and promotional runs.

Over the Abu Dhabi weekend he explained why he had pursued a non-racing role over a race seat, admitting that he wanted a break from competition.

He has left the door slightly ajar for a competitive appearance elsewhere, though, taking a never say never approach when asked about a Supercars cameo recently.

IndyCar regular O’Ward, in Abu Dhabi to drive for McLaren in Free Practice 1, flagged the US open-wheeler series as something that Ricciardo would enjoy.

“I think he would love it,” said the Mexican. “He loves America. So I think Daniel would fit right in.”

In response to O’Ward’s comments, Ricciardo reiterated that while a fan of IndyCar his focus is still very much on F1.

“I had a lot of IndyCar drivers reach out and say like, ‘mate you would love it here’,” said Ricciardo, who finished ninth on his final outing with McLaren on Sunday.

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“They were very enthusiastic and spoke very highly of the series and I’m not saying I wouldn’t … like the racing looks great.

Patricio O’Ward, Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

“I do watch a lot of the races and I enjoy it as a fan, as a spectator.

“But let’s say, I think mentally, I’m just not there at the moment. I’m still kind of with Formula 1 in my mind.”

Speaking on the subject in October, Ricciardo remarked that “ovals scare me” and the idea of racing full-time in America was “more of a fantasy”.

“Ten years ago, I would have said yes,” he said. “I’m OK to admit that I’m not OK with ovals.”

Ricciardo has had limited first-hand exposure to other categories during his time in F1, although has twice sampled Supercars hardware for promotional runs.

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