Where is the pace going?
- Damon Hill says there is a “big question mark” about Daniel Ricciardo’s ability
- The 33-year-old has been brutally ruled out by McLaren amid a disappointing season
- Ricciardo is looking for a seat in 2023 but his options are dwindling
- Hill says teams will wonder if Ricciardo still has a strong pace
Damon Hill believes a host of Formula 1 teams will have doubts about Daniel Ricciardo’s pace with the Australian desperate for a seat in 2023.
The 33-year-old will part with McLaren at the end of the season after a disappointing campaign with the team that saw him win just four places in the top 10.
With available seats dwindling, the Formula One legend says ‘something went wrong’ with Ricciardo – who has not ruled out a time off from the sport if he fails to find a viable option for 2023.
Damon Hill has highlighted the ‘big question mark’ over Daniel Ricciardo’s future in Formula 1
“Danny has been a great character in our sport, sparkling, always smiling and stuff, but something went wrong,” Hill told Sky F1.
Not only in his pace at McLaren, but also in his strategy to get a competitive car. Something fell through the cracks there and hopefully he’ll come smell the roses somewhere and we’ll see him at the front again.
Besides the sabbatical, it has been rumored that Ricciardo could get a backup role next year and Mercedes has been linked.
The Australian was brutally disqualified by McLaren after a disappointing campaign in 2022
Hill says potential suitors will wonder if Ricciardo can hit a strong pace
“I think there’s some logic to that,” Hill said. If you’re at least with a big team, even if you’re in the wings and waiting for the right opportunity, you’ll have useful information for another team maybe, probably.
“But every team manager will look at it and everyone will look at it, every team, and say ‘Where’s the speed going? Will it return? And that’s the big question mark. We don’t know.
Elsewhere, Hill’s fellow F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve gave a harsh assessment of Ricciardo’s F1 career, saying about half of it had been ‘terrible’ and questioning why any team would chase the Australian’s signature.
When asked if he was surprised that the embattled Australian team had not been picked up by a team, Villeneuve’s response was blunt.
Ricciardo may take time off or be a backup driver if he doesn’t find a seat for 2023
“Why would it be?” 1997 world champion told F1 TV.
He had two terrible years at Renault and two terrible years at McLaren. This is four years. Almost half of his Formula 1 career has been poor.
The Alps had no reason to take him, especially when he had driven there before.
Modern cars don’t seem to fit his driving style.
He was great at Red Bull. Show amazing overtaking maneuvers. He was way ahead of Max at first. But in the end, Max started to deal with it.
Then turned. And after switching, something seems to have happened and he’s never been able to handle it. He never recovered from it.