While the F1 world awaits his next move, it seems everyone wants a piece of Daniel Ricciardo.
Back when McLaren negotiated his exit with a year left on his deal, Zak Brown tried to convince the Aussie to move to the constructor’s IndyCar team, which would have saved McLaren a reported $20m.
He’s also reportedly been courted as a reserve driver for both Mercedes and Red Bull, while any other series would be thrilled to attract someone with the personality and following of Ricciardo.
Watch Every Practice, Qualifying & Race of the 2022 FIA Formula One World Championship™ Live on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
But while Brown tried his best to get Ricciardo into IndyCar, reigning Indy 500 champion Marcus Ericsson sounds like he went closer to convincing the Aussie.
Ericsson, who raced in F1 mainly for Alfa Romeo Sauber for five years with a sixth as a reserve driver has had a successful move across to IndyCar with Chip Ganassi Racing.
But he’s also friends with Ricciardo.
In 2022, he claimed his third career win in the series, but it was easily the big one, taking out the Indianapolis classic for the first time.
And to the victor go the spoils, including a record $US3.1m ($A4.6m) prize for the winner.
Speaking to SpeedFreaks on Sunday night, Ericsson revealed had left the Aussie intrigued by his diamond-encrusted champion’s ring.
“I went to Austin for the Formula One there and I was having lunch with him the Sunday before the race,” Ericsson said.
“We were talking about the experience and he was saying ‘yeah, IndyCar looks really cool but I’m not sold on ovals yet’. And I said ‘wait a second bud,’ and I showed him my Indy 500 ring with all the bling and diamonds and everything and he was like ‘oh my god, OK, I might change my mind on ovals now if that’s what you can win’.”
It’s not the first time Ericsson has said it either, telling Expressen last week that Ricciardo is true to his word that he wants to stay in F1.
Earlier in the year, Ricciardo was asked about a move to IndyCar, saying: “F**k that! Ovals scare me,” he joked.
“My Formula 1 career-slash-ambition is not over, so that’s really like first and foremost. I don’t want to deviate, I would say primarily for that reason. But also ovals, nah.
“Ten years ago, I would have said yes. I’m OK to admit that I’m not OK with ovals.”
Ricciardo has stated his eyes are firmly on a reserve driver role next season, admitting he was resigned to not being on the grid in 2022.
It seems Mercedes or Red Bull are the frontrunners, with the latter tipped to get his signature in a return to where he made his name.
Auto Motor und Sport’s Michael Schmidt believes Ricciardo will join Red Bull as its reserve driver and brand ambassador for 2023 as he seeks a return to the grid for 2024.
Last weekend’s race exposed some tension between world champion Max Verstappen and teammate Sergio Perez.
But Ricciardo is keeping the cards close to his chest.
“There’s nothing yet close or confirmed or anything. I can make something up but nothing new to tell you.”
Asked again if it was a “done deal”, Ricciardo replied: “It’s not, I can tell you now. Nothing is done.
“Look, as I have said before, I have nothing to hide.
“From even a contractual point of view in terms of, I guess I’m free to talk and whatever but there’s nothing done.
“If something was done, trust me, I’d be saying it. So there’s nothing holding that back.”