Daniel Ricciardo urged to avoid wasting F1 career amid Mercedes reserve driver links

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Daniel Ricciardo would be wasting his career by taking up a test and reserve role next season, according to ex-F1 driver Karun Chandhok, as the 33-year-old continues to be linked with a potential move to Mercedes. Ricciardo is set to leave McLaren at the end of the current season, with his contract having been cut short by the historic British team, and is yet to find a seat for 2023 as things stand.

He recently insisted that he would not rule out the possibility of becoming a reserve driver ahead of a potential return to a race seat in 2024, with Mercedes said to have been weighing up a move for his services over the last few weeks. However, Chandhok has urged Ricciardo to forget the idea before putting him forward as the ideal replacement for Mick Schumacher if the German driver leaves Haas.

“I’d like to see Daniel have another go at racing,” Chandhok exclusively told Express Sport when quizzed on Ricciardo’s future in F1.

“The last 18 months, for whatever reason, we didn’t see the real Daniel. I don’t know [why] and I don’t think he knows and I don’t think McLaren know, that’s a shame for all. They all went into it with the right intentions but for whatever reason it just hasn’t clicked for him at McLaren.

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“It’s not like he forgot to drive after he left Red Bull because if you go back to 2020, that season he drove at Renault and he was brilliant. He had some amazing qualifying and race performances there. He hasn’t gelled with the way McLaren have the car.

“I would like to see him [race next year]. Even if it means going to somewhere like Haas, who are not championship contenders, but they’ve shown this year on several occasions that the car is perfectly capable of scoring points.

“Even in Zandvoort, Mick Schumacher made it to Q3, so the car’s got some speed in it and having an experienced driver like Daniel, who’s been with good teams, might be quite helpful for a team like Haas, who are still a young team.

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“I’d like to see him racing. I feel like him being on the sidelines is a bit of a waste, I’d like to see him still racing.”

Chandhok was speaking to Express Sport after hosting the BonusFinder World Gas Pumping Championships in London and presenting the winner with a title belt, prize money and a replenished tank of petrol.

“It was one of the most amusing and left-field days I’ve had, if I’m honest,” said Chandhok. “It was just a really fun day for people to come out and win a bit of prize money.

“The people participating got well into it. It’s a bit of a random thing to do on a Wednesday but they all got really competitive and quite serious!”

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