Daniel Ricciardo has dismissed suggestions a return to F1 in 2024 will be affected by Lewis Hamilton's impending contract extension with Mercedes.
The seven-time champion confirmed last month that talks were underway with the Silver Arrows over a multi-year extension that would keep Hamilton in the sport into his 40s.
That could put a stop to Ricciardo's plans to re-enter F1 after a sabbatical, with the outgoing McLaren driver leaving the grid at the end of the year.
The Australian has been linked to a Mercedes reserve role for next season, with team principal Toto Wolff refusing to rule out the potential switch.
“For us, we very much like him, he’s a great character, but we are not in a position to decide who’s going to be the third driver," said Wolff.
READ MORE: Wolff refuses to rule out Ricciardo for Mercedes reserve role
But asked if the news of Hamilton's contract talks threatened his ability to return to the grid, Ricciardo replied: "The truth is I want him to stay in the sport,"
"He's one of the greatest ever to do it and I think competing with him, going wheel to wheel with him is fun, it's awesome, it's normally at the pointy end so I certainly wish to do that more in the future and that's where it currently lies.
"So I think my future will be, let's say, I don't think it's relative to what others do.
"Opportunities will arise when they do, but I'm not banking on anyone doing something so I can find my way.
"I want to take the time necessary, let's say, keep a little bit of distance to the sport and rebuild myself, but then yeah, if something makes sense in ‘24, come back with a vengeance and have some fun and hopefully race at the front."