Former F1 champion Jenson Button has conceded it is unlikely that Daniel Ricciardo will return to the sport after his impending sabbatical.
The Australian will leave McLaren after the remaining races in Brazil and Abu Dhabi to make way for compatriot Oscar Piastri.
Ricciardo has confirmed he will not be on the grid next season but will aim to return in 2024, posing questions over his immediate future.
"The move by McLaren is the right move," Button told Sky Sports F1's Any Driven Monday.
"For most of the season, Daniel hasn't been on the pace of Lando, quite a bit off it at times, so it is the right move for the team.
"For Daniel, it is a tricky situation. I guess he didn't want to drop too far down the grid and work with a team that's more towards the rear.
"It's difficult for a driver coming from a team that is almost winning races at times to suddenly know you're fighting for points.
"It is tough. But I still think it would have been a better move for him.
"Go into a team, work hard, show people what you can do, in a car that maybe suits you a bit more, and then people forget what happened the year before."
Button concerned for reputation hit
Ricciardo's form has been up and down across two seasons with the Woking-based team, but with struggles mounting in recent months, Button is concerned the eight-time grand prix winner's reputation is dwindling.
"That's the issue now, people forget how good Ricciardo is because he's had such a difficult year and a half or two years," he added.
"But he has the talent, and in a car that suits him and a team that would get behind him, he would show his skill and then he has the opportunity to race in a top team again. But sitting out? People just remember what happened last year.
"It's a tricky one and I really struggle to see him coming back to a competitive team after having a year out."