Ricciardo admits focus is on 2024 F1 seat after Gasly/ Alpine move

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Daniel Ricciardo admits his focus is now on "setting up for 2024" after Alpine confirmed Pierre Gasly will join next year on Saturday.

The Australian is without a seat after agreeing to a settlement with McLaren to end his contract early and make way for Oscar Piastri to replace him in 2023.

A return to Alpine, where Ricciardo raced in 2019 and 2020 when the team was called Renault, was seen as a potential option.

But the 33-year-old revealed he knew of their intention to secure Gasly. 

“Yeah, to be honest, the Gasly news I was aware of, I knew they were talking for a while and I knew though they were very interested in Pierre,” said Ricciardo.

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“Let’s say I was prepared for that and no surprise, so we were trying to, let’s say navigate, our way around that and figure out what was next.

“I think the reality is now I won’t be on the grid in ’23, I think it’s now just trying to set up for ’24," he stated.

“I think that there could be some better opportunities then so that’s really what all this confirms and now where the sights are set.

“It’s kind of like just hitting pause for a little bit, as I see it and let’s say as far as my F1 career goes the full intention is for ’24.”

There are still two seats for next year at Haas and Williams, but Ricciardo has instead been more closely linked to a move to Mercedes as reserve driver with talks reportedly at an "advanced stage".

Ricciardo Hamilton

However, 2009 F1 champion Jenson Button has warned the eight-time Grand Prix winner such a move would not be wise.

“Being a third driver for someone of his calibre, it’s a very, very strange situation he’s found himself in,” he told Sky Sports.

“I don’t know what he would get out of being a third driver. He’s not a young driver, so he can’t drive the car next year in race weekends (free practice), so he wouldn’t really get anything out of it.

“I guess he’ll probably think ‘well, Lewis might retire and then I’ll jump in his seat’, but Lewis says he’s going to be around for five years,” Button added. “So he would be waiting a long time.

“It needs to be the team where he thinks he can get a seat for 2024, otherwise it’s game over because you get forgotten after a year in F1.”