Daniel Ricciardo looks ‘a broken man’ after McLaren axing as Aussie discusses F1 return

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DANIEL RICCIARDO has been labelled as a “broken man”.

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Daniel Ricciardo has been described as a “broken man” by F1 pundit Martin Brundle after the Aussie’s axing from McLaren. The 33-year-old’s contract with the team was terminated a year early after continued struggles with the car this season.

After watching an interview where Ricciardo spoke about the split from McLaren and his possible future in the sport, Brundle claimed that Ricciardo looked “a bit of a broken man” but defended the decision made by the team.

“I have not enjoyed watching Daniel,” Brundle told Sky Sports F1. “It’s painful isn’t it? I consider him a friend and rate him massively as a person, as a racing driver. I said yesterday if I was McLaren I would be doing the same thing because he’s struggling to get to pace and you can’t take that for another 18 months. So I would have done exactly the same thing.

“They have made an agreement, it’s a tough business. Daniel didn’t convince me in that interview that he wanted to stay on the grid, that he wanted to go to Alpine or anywhere else. I think he potentially does, but I just saw a bit of a broken man.

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Daniel Ricciardo looks ‘a broken man’ after McLaren axing as Aussie discusses F1 return

Daniel Ricciardo has been described as a “broken man” after leaving McLaren. (Image: GETTY)

“I didn’t see him like ‘I am going to win a race this year, I am going to be on the grid next year, I’ll show them they made the wrong decision here,’ because it’s almost like ‘We’re going to change Daniel, we’re going to take a risk somewhere else’.”

Ricciardo admitted that he would not return to F1 “just to be on the grid”, and that any potential deal would be with a car that could make him competitive again. “I want to get back to winning,” Ricciardo told Sky Sports. “I want to get back to fighting for podiums and wins. That’s what gives me the most happiness. One thing that has remained unchanged for me is I’ve never wanted to be a driver just to be on the grid.

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Daniel Ricciardo looks ‘a broken man’ after McLaren axing as Aussie discusses F1 return

Martin Brundle described Daniel Ricciardo as like “a broken man” after his McLaren axe. (Image: Sky Sports)

“Of course I love this sport and I love everything that comes with it. But at this point in my career it’s just about winning. Under the right circumstances, the right opportunity, absolutely it’s where I want to be but obviously I might not have every option available.”

There are five seats still available for the 2023 season after a contractual dispute surrounding Oscar Piastri, McLaren and Alpine. There are also opportunities for Ricciardo to race for Williams, Haas, Alfa Romeo and AlphaTauri.

Ricciardo admitted that his phone had been ringing “a lot” during the break but he is yet to sign a deal with another team. “I haven’t signed anything,” Ricciardo said. “At this moment, I’m a free man so to speak.”

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