Ricciardo comes back home as the third driver for 2023.

After a torrid season with McLaren, Australian racer Daniel Ricciardo will be replaced by the rookie compatriot Oscar Piastri for 2023. With diminishing options over time, the Aussie finally accepted that he won’t be in the grid until at least 2024. After the season ended, Red Bull officially announced that he will be joining the squad as the team’s third driver next year.

Earlier, in an interaction with Sky Germany, Team Consultant Helmut Marko revealed that the former Red Bull driver is coming home next year as the reserve driver. On Friday in Abu Dhabi, Marko implied that Daniel Ricciardo will take the reserve role that would see him supporting the main drivers Perez and Verstappen. He will also be taking over the show runs and marketing duties.

Done Deal

In a brief interaction with F1’s post-race discussion panel in Abu Dhabi, Ricciardo stated the deal is almost done and will only break down under unrealistic circumstances.

Questions have been pointed towards the Red Bull garage following the tussle between Perez and Verstappen. Team Principal Christian Horner strongly denied that any of the current drivers will be stripped of the seat.

“Daniel’s contract will be very specific, for a specific reason. We have a contract with Checo for the next two years,” said Horner. “What the partnership of Max and Checo has produced has been phenomenal for us. The five one-two finishes so far this year, the constructors’ championship that we hadn’t won for eight years, is a phenomenal achievement, and obviously the combination of both drivers’ points contribution.”

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Ricciardo drove for Red Bull from 2014-18

It will be a homecoming for the Australian if he goes back to the Red Bull garage next year. Driving for the Austrian constructors produced some of the best Ricciardo moments in F1. His career statistics may underline the underperformance of his raw talent. But he has been the most entertaining driver of his day.

In his 100 races with Red Bull, he won seven Grand Prix, grabbed three poles and stepped on the podium 29 times. He made his Red Bull debut in 2014 when he replaced the retiring Aussie, Mark Webber. In the new regulations, he defeated the defending champion Sebastian Vettel in the same machinery. In that whole season, only three races were won by a non-Mercedes driver, all were won by Ricciardo. He finished the championship third behind the two Mercedes drivers.

Ricciardo later equalled his best championship standing in 2018 when he was partnering Max Verstappen. He is the only ever driver to beat Vettel and Verstappen as a teammate. Neither of them has ever been bettered by their teammate in F1, other than the Aussie.

His decision to leave Red Bull at the end of 2018 baffled everyone in the paddock. It started seeming pretty much clear to him that Verstappen is the favourite child. So he moved on to Renault to gain the number one driver status. Things haven’t been the same for both parties since then. Red Bull failed to find Verstappen a partner who could challenge Mercedes’ domination in the sport while Ricciardo’s time didn’t go as well as he had planned, especially in McLaren.

Mercedes also looked to sign Daniel Ricciardo as a reserve driver. However, Mick Schumacher is now a favourite for that role.

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