Red Bull has confirmed that Daniel Ricciardo has returned to the team as its reserve driver for the 2023 season, putting to rest recent speculation about a potential move to Mercedes. The beloved Australian star was dropped by McLaren after last weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and had been in talks with a number of teams about taking on a backup role before next year.
Ricciardo is believed to have spoken with Mercedes about a role with the German team from next year, with a view to taking a race seat with Silver Arrows or elsewhere for the 2024 season. However, it had long been considered a return to Red Bull as the 33-year-old’s most likely course of action and it has been revealed that he will be back with the newly crowned Constructors’ Championship winners when the new campaign begins.
The move will see Mercedes miss out on Ricciardo after losing Nyck de Vries to Red Bull’s sister team AlphaTauri earlier this year. The latter signed a multi-year deal to replace Pierre Gasly at the Italian team from next season after stepping down from his reserve driver role at Silver Arrows after last weekend’s final in Abu Dhabi.
Ricciardo took to Instagram on Wednesday to confirm his return to Red Bull after spending his formative years in F1 with the team before leaving to sign with Renault at the end of 2018. He said: “The smile says it all, I’m really excited. to return to Oracle Red Bull Racing as its third driver in 2023.
“I already have so many good memories of my time here, but Christian’s welcome [Horner]Dr. [Helmut] Marko and the whole team is something I truly appreciate.
“Personally, for me, the ability to contribute and be surrounded by the best F1 team is very attractive, while also giving me some time to recharge and refocus. I can’t wait to be with the team and support with the simulator work. test sessions and commercial activities Let’s go!”
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner added: “It’s great to bring Daniel back to the Red Bull family. He’s such a talented and brilliant character, I know the whole factory is excited to welcome him home.” .
“In his role as tester and third driver, Daniel will give us the opportunity to diversify, assisting in the development of the car, helping the team with his experience and knowledge of what it takes to be successful in F1.”
Ricciardo was only able to secure an 11th-place finish in the Drivers’ Championship standings in 2022, and the Perth native was unable to emulate the superior performances of his McLaren teammate Lando Norris for the vast majority of the campaign. However, he turned things around in the second half of the season and hopes to stay fit over the course of the next year in his new role at Red Bull, as he contemplates a possible return to the grid from 2024.
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