Daniel Ricciardo has revealed he 'needs' the F1 summer break after a difficult start to the season.
The Australian has scored in only four grands prix of 13 so far with team-mate Lando Norris comprehensively outperforming him in the sister MCL36.
Both Ricciardo and McLaren had confirmed they were committed to each other with a year remaining on his contract, despite murmurings throughout the season that there was disharmony - triggered by comments made by CEO Zak Brown that the eight-time race winner had underachieved since arriving last year.
Speculation had cooled but Ricciardo's future has been thrust back into the limelight after Sebastian Vettel's announcement that he would retire at the end of the season.
Fernando Alonso promptly jumped ship from Alpine but whilst Oscar Piastri seemed a certainty for the Spaniard's place, the reigning F2 champion refuted the French manufacturer's promotion with a drive at McLaren to replace Ricciardo now more likely.
Speaking ahead of the driver market storm and referring to the three-week break before the Belgian Grand Prix, Ricciardo insisted: “I need it.
"More so because it hasn’t been a good six months but even if the season was going awesome, I think a break is still nice just to get away.
"F1 these days is intense and even the hotels, they’re full of people and weekends are just so full on that I think just getting away from the circus for a few weeks is going to be nice.”
Additional reporting by Ian Parkes