DANIEL RICCIARDO’S Formula One career has been blasted as “terrible” by former champ Jacques Villeneuve – or at least, half of it.
The Aussie finds himself without a seat for next season after being ditched by McLaren – and replaced by Oscar Piastri – with a year remaining on his contract.
Daniel Ricciardo has endured a difficult 2022 seasonCredit: Rex
Jacques Villeneuve slated Ricciardo’s performancesCredit: Splash
But racing legend Villeneuve, 51, is anything but surprised the former Red Bull driver is yet to be snapped up by another team, telling F1 TV: “Why would he be?
“He had two terrible years at Renault and two even more terrible years at McLaren. That’s four years. Almost half of his Formula One career was bad.
“Alpine have no reason to take him, especially when he’s driven there before.
“The modern cars just don’t seem to suit his driving style.
“He was impressive at Red Bull. He showed amazing overtaking manoeuvres. He was ahead of Max at the beginning. But in the end Max started to get a handle on him.
“Then he switched. And after the switch something seems to have happened that he never managed to get a handle on. He never recovered from that.”
Ricciardo achieved two third-place championship finishes with Red Bull. Since leaving at the end of 2018 has come ninth, fifth and eighth.
Despite links to Haas and Williams, speculation has grown that Ricciardo could take a one-year sabbatical from the sport – but Villeneuve thinks this would be a bad idea.
He added: “It could make him lazy.
“You can take a year off if you’re an Alonso, a Schumacher, if you’ve been world champion and won a lot of races, if you know in the paddock that you’ll always be at your best, no matter what season.
“After four bad years, don’t do that. You take what you can get. If you have an offer to drive in Formula One, then you take every cockpit.
“In public you will say you don’t want to drive for one of the back teams, but if that’s the only contract you can get, then you’ll sign it.”
Last weekend, Haas team principal Guenther Steiner appeared to play down the likelihood of his team moving for Ricciardo.
He said: “I’ve talked to most of the potential drivers, which is my job.
“There’s nothing concrete yet, but we only want to take the smallest risks for the development of the team. You can take a big risk which is great when it works, but it’s bad when it doesn’t.
“There are none of those [experienced drivers] who are currently on the market. Except maybe Daniel.
“But his form isn’t great at the moment and we don’t know what he’s going to do. Maybe he’ll sit out a year.”
Guenther Steiner played down Haas’ interest in Daniel RicciardoCredit: Getty
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