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Ricciardo out of F1 in 2023? It could happen

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Whispers that Ricciardo could have his contract torn up have been getting louder by the race as he continues to be out performed by his younger teammate Lando Norris.Since arriving at McLaren in 2021, Ricciardo has started 29 races with his sole victory in Monza regarded as a ‘saviour race’. And while Norris is yet to record his first win, he has comprehensively and consistently beaten Ricciardo in almost all other aspects of racing.Alarm bells got louder for Ricciardo after another disappointing result in Monaco where McLaren’s bosses alluded to performance-based clauses in his contract which could prematurely end his tenure.Watch all the action of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Kayo this Sunday at 9pm. Sign up to KAYO HEREDaniel Ricciardo deep dive, others under pressure, Baku previewIt’s a scenario that former F1 driver and Sky Sport pundit Brundle hopes can be avoided.“They can’t take this into 2023,” Brundle said of Ricciardo’s form and the apparent team disunity.“The team is too big and there’s too much at stake.“I’m sure they want it to work as much as Daniel does. He’s just got to find some speed.“Three strong results to show he’s still got it will help everybody relax. Otherwise, I can imagine both parties sitting down at the end of the year or before the end of the year saying, this is not working. This is not working for us.”In recent weeks McLaren boss Zak Brown has not held back with his criticism of Ricciardo saying he “has not met his or our expectations, as far as what we were expecting.”Brown has made no secret of his desire to have an American driver on the grid and, given how public McLaren have been with their disappointment, time does not appear to be on Ricciardo’s side.No stranger to a blast from the boss in his career, Brundle says no one is immune to a public shaming.At the end of the day Formula One is a business; results talk and money talks. Nice guys ad big smiles don’t always come out on top.“Don’t be surprised when people are brutal in F1,” Brundle said of Brown’s comments.“I see everybody wanting him to be at McLaren next year but It’s a head game…, like any sport at the highest level, it’s all in your head he’s got to get his head right.“This is Formula One, it’s a brutal sport. There are 20 drivers on the grid, you get paid a lot of money because you’re talented. And Formula One doesn’t carry passengers.“I’m not one moment suggesting that Daniel’s a passenger because he’s a world class racing driver, but I’m talking generally.“I’ve been on the receiving end of that kind of criticism a few times. It’s a tough business.“The people before you get in got kicked out somewhere or retired. There’s gonna be movement otherwise you wouldn’t have gotten there in the first place.”F1 returns to Azerbaijan this weekend, a circuit Riccardo will affiliate with success and disaster.An incredible triple overtake in 2017 saw him recover from 17th to first in a race that will go down as one of the greatest of his career.But it’s been a slippery slope ever since with two retirements and a 9th place-finish.To say that Baku this weekend is the biggest race of Ricciardo’s career is no understatement.And he’s not the only drive under pressure with eight seats uncontracted beyond 2022.Nicolas Latifi and Mick Schumacher remain the only drivers yet to score points this season and both have copped fierce criticism from their respective bosses.Fernando Alonso is also racing for a new contract with the veteran keen to stay on with Alpine while Aston Martin, AlphaTauri and Alfa Romeo are also yet to confirm both their drivers for 2023.Waiting in the wings for an opportunity is Australian sensation Oscar Piastri who has spent 2022 as a reserve driver with Alpine.Time will tell if he gets his chance but Brundle remains confident Australian fans could see two drivers on the grid at Albert Park in 2023.“Piastri has got to be in F1 next year whatever it is and whatever comes his way he has got to take it,” Brundle said. “He has to outperform whatever he gets as Mark Webber did at Minardi.“It won’t be easy for Oscar but it’s not out the question. There’s only 20 F1 drivers in the world and to have 10 per cent of them as Aussies will be challenging but doable.”READ THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH BRUNDLE ON THURSDAY JUNE 9



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