Daniel Ricciardo is biding his time and says he isn't "foaming at the mouth" to go racing once again, the Red Bull reserve insisting he'll "ease into 2023" at his own pace.
Ricciardo is sharing Red Bull's third driver role this season with young gun Liam Lawson, although he'll attend much fewer races than the Kiwi, with the Aussie's main task involving simulator work and show-run assignments for his employer.
For now, Ricciardo is happy to wait things out, but he'll likely seek a bit of clarity on his racing future as the season unfolds.
"I’m keen to have a crack just to stay race-fit, so the body doesn’t go into shock when it hits 5Gs!" Ricciardo said at Red Bull's 2023 team launch in New York on Friday.
"If there was a test tomorrow, I’m still good. But I’m happy to have more time off.
"As the year progresses I will put my hand up. But I’m not foaming at the mouth yet. I’m happy to ease into 2023."
Ricciardo says he's enjoyed a leisurely winter holiday so far, but will soon ramp up his physical training in order to embrace any opportunity that may come his way.
"I’m still taking a day-by-day approach," he said. "I’m not putting too much stress on, by March 1, knowing how I feel.
"I want it to happen naturally. Being at the launch does excite me, it’s a cool feeling. But I’m happy to be taking the year that I am taking.
"I feel like a holiday is winding down, I’ve had close to enough time off, I’m going to the Super Bowl next weekend then I’ll get back into a regime of training.
"I’ll see what happens over the next couple of months. I need to stay sharp enough that, if I need to jump in spontaneously, I’m not 20kg overweight!
"I’ll be watching the first race on television. That will start to warm up a few feelings.
"Melbourne is the first race I will attend - the atmosphere, noise, smell will do whatever it does. Stoked, excited, wanting to get back? Or just a fan? Melbourne will tell me a lot."
A solicitation to race from outside F1 could also eventually pop up on Ricciardo's cellphone. If that's the case, the eight-time Grand Prix winner expects some flexibility from Red Bull.
"There would be flexibility, and if Red Bull were involved, it’s win-win," he said. "But, right now, I want mental time off.
"Competition is awesome but it’s a lot. If I step into something else, there would be a level of expectation. This year is a chance to take a light-hearted approach and to ease off."