Just two days after the chequered flag fell at the season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Red Bull has confirmed that Daniel Ricciardo will return to the Milton Keynes-based squad as the third driver for the 2023 F1 season.
Ricciardo first competed in Formula One in 2011 with HRT, then moved on to Toro Rosso for the next two seasons before joining Red Bull as team mate of Sebastian Vettel. This five-year stint with the Austrian-Anglo outfit saw the Australian driver score his maiden victory at the 2014 Canadian Grand Prix and score six further wins.
In 2019, Verstappen left Red Bull to join forces with Renault with this two-year stint bringing two podium finshes to Ricciardo. The Perth-born racer left the Enstone-based squad at the end of the 2020 F1 season to join McLaren. Although Ricciardo won the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, the past two years failed to bring contant success.
His frustrating lack of performance at McLaren had left him on the hot seat for months with the Woking-based outfit confirming earlier in the year that it would replace Ricciardo with Oscar Piasrti. Red Bull have now revealed that Ricciardo will rejoin the team as their third driver - driving for the team during marketing events and show runs and carrying out simulator duties.
Speaking of the news, Ricciardo said: “The smile says it all, I’m truly excited to be coming back home to Oracle Red Bull Racing as their third Driver in 2023. I already have so many fond memories of my time here, but the welcome from Christian, Dr Marko and the entire team is something I’m sincerely appreciative of.
"For me personally, the ability to contribute to and be surrounded by the best team in F1 is hugely appealing, whilst also giving me some time to recharge and refocus. I can’t wait to be with the team and support with simulator work, testing sessions and commercial activities. Let’s go!”
Team boss Christian Horner commented: “It is great to bring Daniel back into the Red Bull family. He has enormous talent and such a brilliant character; I know the whole factory is excited to be welcoming him home. In his role as test and third driver, Daniel will give us the chance to diversify, assisting in the development of the car, aiding the Team with his experience and knowledge of what it takes to succeed in F1.
"We’re very pleased to be working with Daniel again and look forward to everything he will bring to the Team in 2023.”