Daniel Ricciardo is adamant his desire to prove himself as a Formula One force hasn’t been diminished by his ill-fated spell at McLaren – and reckons the fire in his belly to succeed keeps on raging.
The Australian took to social media on Wednesday to admit he’s not sure about what the future will hold for him after he and his British-based team agreed to end their relationship a year early after his disappointing results.
But Ricciardo, whose reputation has taken a severe hit in his largely unsuccessful two-year spell at McLaren, made a passionate declaration about his continuing love for the sport and his desire to get back among the driving elite.
“I think for the future, what lies ahead, I am not sure yet… I am not sure yet. But we’ll see,” Ricciardo said, breaking the “bittersweet” news to his 7.3 million followers on Instagram in a video address.
“The sport, I still love it… I still love it. This hasn’t affected any of that. I still have that fire in me and that belief in my belly that I can do this at the highest level.
“I look back at this time with McLaren with a smile. I learnt a lot about myself and I think things that will help me with the next step in my career but also just in general, in life.”
Despite a difficult two years during which he was consistently outdriven by British teammate Lando Norris, the 33-year-old Ricciardo, an eight-time grand prix winner, shouldn’t be short of suitors after his previous F1 successes that included a win at Monza for McLaren last year.
Alpine, Alfa Romeo, Haas and Williams, who haven’t finalised their driver line-ups for next year, have all been mentioned as possible destinations for the Australian.
Ricciardo also revealed more about the discussions with McLaren over his exit.
“We had a lot of discussions but in the end we mutually decided it was the best thing for both of us. I will continue to do the rest of this year, absolutely, and I’ll continue to give it my all,” he said.
“From a result point of view, for sure, consistently to get the results and the form that I was after, it wasn’t always there and it was tough.
“I felt those absolutely. But I also have many happy memories of my time at the team.
“I think about Monza, I think about standing on the top step, I think about bringing the team their first win since 2012. That sort of stuff was awesome, to see the smiles on everyone’s faces and to be in that moment.
“That’s something I’ll never forget so there is a lot of good stuff to take from this as well.”
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