Daniel Ricciardo is fresh off his best performance of the season after crossing the line fifth during a rain-affected Singapore Grand Prix.
The Australian finished fifth one spot behind teammate Lando Norris as McLaren picked up a rare double top five finish.
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But on Monday morning the speculation surrounding Ricciardo’s Formula 1 future went into overdrive, all thanks to his best mate Scotty James.
James the two-time Olympic medallist and three-time world champion posted a cheeky clip to his TikTok account with his partner Chloe Stroll.
Chloe just happens to be the sister of Aston Martin driver Lance, so between the pair they would be across a bit of paddock whispers.
In the clip, the words ‘when’s there’s F1 rumours’ were on the screen as James and Stroll mimicked a scene from popular TV show Friends.
Ricciardo’s future on the grid remains up in the air for 2023 after his contract at McLaren was axed with 12 months remaining.
The Perth native will be replaced by young compatriot Oscar Piatsri, who will partner Norris next year.
Last month, Ricciardo was linked to Mercedes as a reserve driver — and ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix he was seen leaving the team’s hospitality area.
Only three F1 teams are yet to officially confirm their driver line-ups for 2023, with seats still available at Alpine, Haas and Williams.
Alpine, linked to Ricciardo shortly after his axing was announced, made their intentions clear they were looking to bring in Pierre Gasly.
That move can only be accommodated if AlphaTauri replace Gasly, which looks to be on the cards with Nyck De Vries reportedly signing a contract to take his seat.
Effectively Ricciardo is left with two options that could land him on the grid in 2023, Williams and Haas.
Haas team principle Guenther Steiner said the power was in the Aussie’s hands if he wanted to partner with Kevin Magnussen.
Ricciardo confirmed his management had been exploring options, but confessed he would happily take on a reserve driver position next year as a back-up plan.
“My team is talking to pretty much everyone and they are having conversations, so we are just trying to put it all together and figure out what makes the most sense,” Ricciardo said on Thursday.
“So it‘s not that they’re not interested, and while I’m not coming from a place of over confidence, we are just doing our due diligence and figuring out what’s best.
“Trying to see beyond next year, because for me I want be racing but also don‘t want to be just looking at the next 12 months and not the next 24.
“I‘m still keen to be part of F1. Of course, Plan A would to be on the grid, so nothing’s changed, but I don’t want to just jump at the first seat available. I know the landscape has probably changed as well at the end of next year with contracts or whatever, so I’m remaining open.
“I know that if I choose to take a reserve role or not race next year, nothing‘s guaranteed. So that comes at a risk, but that’s what we are weighing up. At this stage, especially with a top team, there are no guarantees.
“I know, having been through the last few years, there’s something (about) — obviously Monza last year was the best-case scenario — fighting for a win.
“What fighting at the front does — when you‘ve had that taste, it’s real. That’s ultimately where I want to be.
“I guess I don‘t want to just race to race. I want to race with a true belief and understanding that I could be back on the podium.”