Daniel Ricciardo has been defended by his manager following the news that he will not be on the F1 grid in 2023.
It was announced in August that Ricciardo and McLaren had mutually agreed to terminate his contract early, meaning that the Australian will leave the squad at the end of the current season.
Despite being linked to other teams – including a possible return to Alpine, where he previously raced while the squad were under their Renault guise in 2019 and 2020 – Ricciardo stated over the Japanese Grand Prix weekend that he will not be on the grid next year.
However, the 33-year-old is keen to stay in the sport and hopes to return in 2024.
Ricciardo's manager defends driver
After Ricciardo confirmed his absence from the grid for 2023, his manager, Nick Thimm, took to social media to speak in defence of the driver, who has struggled to match the performances of teammate Lando Norris during his two-year stint at McLaren.
"None of this is about ego, unachievable demands, or a sudden lack of opportunity," Thimm wrote on Twitter.
"This is about a man who was dealt a bad hand, now finding the right next opportunity. Uncovering a new project where he can work with a team that embraces his unique set of skills.
"A project where his experience can be applied. A process where he can reset and show his love for the game. And ultimately put himself in the best position to show the world what he's capable of should he be given the chance.
"It’s a different approach yes, but it's also a new day for the sport."
What 2023 could hold for Ricciardo
Thimm believes that eight-time race winner Ricciardo's experience in Formula 1 will put him in good stead for a future opportunity in the sport.
"Daniel's maturity and experience is a matched by few on the grid; now more than ever," Thimm added.
"The honey badger will still be as close to the F1 grid as he can in 2023. He's not done. And as we saw this season, anything can happen."
Ricciardo has previously admitted that the possibility of becoming a reserve driver in 2023 is one of his "realistic" options.