If Daniel Ricciardo Leaves Formula 1, He Will Go to Endurance Racing

Daniel Ricciardo posed on the pitlane before the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix.

Daniel Ricciardo posed on the pitlane before the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix.
Photo: Chris Graythen (Getty Images)

As IndyCar’s Colton Herta prepares for a Formula 1 test in Portimao, Portugal for the McLaren team, speculation has increased about Daniel Ricciardo. The Australian racer is not yet in good shape this year, playing second fiddle to his teammate Lando Norris, and all eyes are focused on Colton Herta as Ricciardo’s potential replacement. But if Ricciardo leaves, he probably won’t go where you think. In fact, he will probably endure racing.

You listen. I got. Ricciardo is a NASCAR fan, so some people want to see him there. Others see series like IndyCar or Formula E as viable options for F1 outcasts who want to have a more level playing field on which to compete. But I’ll be honest with all of you: There are so many very good reasons why that won’t happen. And that means we’ll likely see Ricciardo embark on endurance racing – likely one of the new prototype programs – in the future.

Of course, this is all speculation on my part. I can be proven wrong. but you know what? I’m sure that won’t happen.


Daniel Ricciardo has been a huge NASCAR fan and has been ever since he was a kid. In programs such as Project 91 of Trackhouse Racingdesigned to put international racers behind the wheel of a stock car, it doing seems to have a possibility.

But it’s not for one simple reason: Ricciardo doesn’t like to race on ovals. When I asked him if he was interested in competing with ovalshis answer is a big ol ‘ hindi:

Yes, maybe on a lower level, yes, just to dip my finger in the water, but like if someone offered me, “Would you like to race NASCAR this weekend in an oval?” I want to say, “No, I’ll walk before I run.”

Can we see Ricciardo shining on the moon as a NASCAR driver? Really. I have no doubt that we will see him competing on road courses along with the series. But he’s not going to NASCAR for an entire season. It just doesn’t happen.

Why Not IndyCar?

Ricciardo will likely also avoid IndyCar. Again, there are concerns with the ovals, but a road program and street course are also unlikely to happen.

Look. I love IndyCar. I’m going to bat for IndyCar every day of my life. But Ricciardo is too high-profile for IndyCar, a series that offers $ 30,000 for a race win and small six-figure revenue for its star drivers, Drive reports. F1 keeps the mess and its financial dealings a secret, but RacingNews365 Ricciardo is estimated to earn an annual salary of $ 15 million from McLaren – which is a salary that could, in fact, fund a good portion of IndyCar’s grid.

Sure, Ricciardo could bring a few sponsorship dollars to IndyCar, but what’s the benefit to him? He is one of the highest profile drivers on the current F1 grid if only for his personality. He has nothing to gain from IndyCar – no prestige, no money, no race results at important events (i.e., the Indy 500). It just doesn’t happen.

Why Not Formula E?

Like IndyCar, Formula E is generally considered a series where former F1 drivers go to get the last remnants of their careers in open-wheel racing (although I think it causes deep damage to quality of careers provided by the same series). Unlike IndyCar, every driver on the FE grid is paid.

The top earners in FE are estimated by The race to earn approximately $ 2 million per year by 2020, but the average salary is around $ 750,000.

Let’s assume Ricciardo is one of the top earners. He’ll still do a part of what he does in F1, but he’ll do less to get it, because FE drivers clock in less than a month of days on the track each year.

But Formula E has no prestige. It’s a World Championship, yes – but look in any comments section on any website that writes about FE, and you’ll see countless people gushing over the series. A combo of 45-minute races, one-day events, slowly evolving technology, and deep race organization left the series constantly fighting for legitimacy. Formula E will need Ricciardo more than Ricciardo needs Formula E, and I just don’t see him taking that step.

Will he stay in F1?

Lots of long conversations about Ricciardo’s potential options when it comes to staying in F1, and honestly? I don’t think the prospects are good. McLaren isn’t exactly a Championship-winning team right now, but with his poor results compared to his teammates, Ricciardo won’t be the McLaren driver promoted to a Mercedes, Red Bull, or Ferrari. AlphaTauri was not on the table after Ricciardo left the Red Bull Junior Program. The remaining teams are not competitive and are unlikely to deliver the salary or results Ricciardo expects.

Sure Ricciardo could stay in F1. Sure. But I’ve heard rumors that there are a few reasons why he’s not exactly a looking commodity in the F1 world, meaning that staying in F1 is probably a last-ditch effort.

Why Endurance Racing?

So, what’s left on the table for Ricciardo? In my view, this will be endurance racing, most likely the World Endurance Championship.

See, Ricciardo has already said he’s interested in racing at 24 Hours of Le Mans, which makes WEC an easy choice. No, salaries for WEC drivers are not exactly large, but the WEC calendar also offers the prestige of historic events. If you are a racing driver, what race to do you rather win: the six -hour Monza, the Jakarta ePrix, or the Honda Indy 200?

If Ricciardo goes to the WEC, he will go to a top-level prototype team. He will be a hypercar driver. That title alone carries little power, but he can also be attributed to the technical advances currently happening in the world of endurance. He will have several races a year to fight (many of which have long been at the top of motorsport history), leaving him ample opportunities to make TV shows or give high profile interview. He will be able to keep his name on the motorsport map and his thumb in pop culture. It just does definition. This is the only place I see him go.

McLaren says Ricciardo is firmly on the team for 2023, so we may still have a year to change these factors in a way that would make staying in F1 a more favorable proposal than anything else – but I think that we’ll see the surprising end of the contract before the 2023 season begins. And if that happens, I can only say one thing: Daniel Ricciardo, prove me wrong.


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