The F1 2023 calendar has thrown up a record-setting 24 races but Ricciardo will not be a full-time driver after his axing from McLaren.

Although he won’t be a regular fixture in the F1 2023 driver line-up, he is set to agree terms over a third driver role with Red Bull, the team he previously represented.

“The highly likely place for me is Red Bull,” he said to Sky. “I can’t say 100 percent until things are signed off. I look forward to that. 

“If it is, I won’t be at 24 races! Otherwise I may as well still be on the grid. I made it clear that I needed time off.”

Ricciardo said to Jenson Button: “I remember Barcelona last year, so very early in my McLaren career. I out-qualified Lando Norris and [Button] said to me: ‘It’s about time you showed some pace!’ 

“I remember you scratching your head about why I was struggling with the car. Sorry to leave a fan frustrated! 

“It has beaten me down, the past couple of years, which is why I want a little bit of time removed. I want to find a part of myself again and rebuild a little bit. When it doesn’t work you can so easily just be angry, bitter, have negative emotions to something you love.”

Ricciardo finished a dreadful season 11th in the F1 standings after a P9 in Abu Dhabi.

“I’m relieved with how the race ended,” he said. “I look back to a week ago – if that was the finale, it would have left a sour taste in my mouth. To see the chequered flag, to be in the points, to hold off Sebastian Vettel was fun. I crossed the line and put in a solid effort which leaves me fulfilled. 

“There were races where I felt more comfortable but this was the difficulty – all of a sudden, a week later, I’d be back where I was. The consistency and the unknown were what made it so tricky. I’m happy to have had a few nice ones since the summer break.”