Guess who’s back! Daniel Ricciardo’s Formula One future is FINALLY settled as Red Bull confirm Australian will return to the team as their reserve driver next season after McLaren axing
- Red Bull have signed Daniel Ricciardo as their reserve driver for next season
- Ricciardo, 33, was searching for a team following his McLaren sacking
- The Australian was willing to lose a seat on the grid if it made sense long-term
- Red Bull have snapped up their former driver to act as back-up in 2023
After months of uncertainty, Daniel Ricciardo appears to have finally settled his future with the Australian joining Red Bull as their reserve driver.
Ricciardo’s future has been clouded by uncertainty ever since McLaren terminated the 33-year-old’s contract earlier this year, with the team unimpressed by a series of underwhelming drives this season.
The Australian has remained tight-lipped over his future, but with places on the grid dwindling for 2023, Ricciardo accepted that he may need to take a backseat for 2023.
Sportsmail reported that he had been in negotiations with Mercedes over a reserve driver role, with the team viewing the Australian as a potential successor to Lewis Hamilton.
However, those talks alerted Red Bull and Christian Horner entered the race to re-sign the 33-year-old, who raced for five years with the team before moving onto Renault.
And on Friday, Red Bull chief Helmur Marko confirmed to Sky Sports that Ricciardo will be their third driver for 2023, serving as a back-up to reigning world champion Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.
‘Ricciardo will be our third driver,’ said Marko after FP1 in Abu Dhabi – and before any official release from the team. ‘We have so many sponsors, we have to do show runs and the like, so of course he’s one of the most high-profile and best-suited.’
Red Bull have since told The Mirror that Marko’s statement was ‘premature’ and nothing has been signed yet, although the move is expected to go through anyway.
As a reserve driver, Ricciardo will help with the testing of the Red Bull cars, while also ready to step in if Verstappen or Perez are forced to miss a race. He will serve as a back-up option for sister team AlphaTauri, too.
Ricciardo’s career has not progressed as he had hoped when he left Red Bull in 2018, unhappy with the team prioritising up-and-coming hot shot Verstappen over him.
He won seven races during his five-year stint with the team and even out-performed Sebastian Vettel during their only season as teammates.
The Australian joined Renault after the 2018 season but things have failed to progress for him, culminating in a campaign in which he has been outperformed by younger teammate Lando Norris.
More to follow.
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