Webber warns year out of F1 will 'feel longer' for Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) McLaren at the drivers end of season group photograph. 20.11.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 22, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, Race
© XPB 

Former driver Mark Webber has warned his compatriot Daniel Ricciardo that a year on the Formula 1 sidelines is going to feel a lot longer than he will be expecting.

Ricciardo replaced Webber at Red Bull when he retired from f1 after the 2013 season. Ricciardo himself left the squad at the end of 2018 to move to Renault and then McLaren, but now finds himself without a race seat for 2023.

Instead, he will return to Red Bull as their designated 'third driver' supporting Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez. However it's considered very unlikely that he will get any race outings in the coming year.

"Obviously, in Daniel's own words, he needs a break," Webber told Australian motorsport website Speedcafe this week. "He needs to reflect on finding the motivation and the energy [to get him] back to the sport.

"It's good that he's open to staying on the fringes to measure his motivation levels at his own discretion.


"I think this is a great opportunity for him to do that in an environment that he knows well, with Milton Keynes and Red Bull," he said.

"He'll be good for the brands, there's no question about that. He's insanely popular, we know that globally.

"A year out will ... feel like longer for him, which could be good, because he might need that," he suggested. "Then [he can] start making decisions for how 2024 can look for him."

As well as being part of Channel 4' Formula 1 presentation tea,, Webber is also managing Oscar Piastri - the Aussie who has taken over Ricciardo's seat at McLaren.

"He's pretty different to Daniel. I think Oscar is pretty reserved," Webber replied when asked about Piastri's character compared to that of Ricciardo.

"Everyone's got their own character," he explained, comparing the natures of Sebastian Vettel, Charles Leclerc, Max Verstappen and Lando Norris

"Sebastian as a world champion is very different to what he was at the end of his career. Charles, Max - they've all got their own little idiosyncrasies and style on how they go about it.

"Oscar is new to the sport," he added. "It doesn't matter what driver you are, obviously it takes time for you to get used to the sport, the juggernaut, the travel, the media.

"When Lando arrived he was a rabbit in a headlight. Same for Daniel [in 2011] probably, a little bit at HRT and Toro Rosso for a time.

"Oscar is very reserved, incredibly professional, diligent, which we're seeing in all the junior categories. And very economical with his words.

"As my wife said: 'He's the most sophisticated Australian that's ever gone to race overseas!'," he laughed.

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