Ricciardo to make Red Bull return as reserve driver

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Ricciardo to make Red Bull return as reserve driver

Formula 1

Ricciardo to make Red Bull return as reserve driver

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Christian Horner has confirmed plans for Daniel Ricciardo’s return to Red Bull in 2023 as one of the team’s reserve drivers.

Ricciardo will not be racing in Formula 1 next season after having his McLaren contract terminated one year early, and not finding a seat that he was motivated by after a number of tough seasons.

Instead, the Australian was focused on a role that kept him involved with a Formula 1 team but afforded him more flexibility to try and launch a successful comeback in 2024, and after Helmut Marko suggested a deal was done, Red Bull team principal Horner has outlined Ricciardo’s role.

“We haven’t signed anything yet but Helmut, obviously in his enthusiasm, has already announced it, so I guess that means that Daniel will be joining us, unless of course he chooses not to sign it!” Horner said.

“Daniel’s a big character. It’s been disappointing to see his performance this year. I think the would have wanted a lot more out of the season but he’s still one of the biggest names and biggest characters in F1.

“He obviously has a history of being a Red Bull junior, and just with the demands that are on the race drivers these days, just from a marketing perspective alone, we’re very, very active as a team – we do many showruns and events – and to have a driver of Daniel’s profile and history with the team within the group is only an asset for us.

“It means that he keeps in touch with Formula 1, and we’ll obviously be using him on the simulator as well. He’ll be attending potentially some events, of course if he does sign a contract! I’m sure that will all become clear in the event of him signing a contract.”

Despite Ricciardo’s history with Red Bull and recent tension between Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, Horner says there is no thinking that the team might be able to bring the former driver back into a race capacity in future.

“No, no. Daniel’s contract is very specific for a specific reason. We have a contract with Checo for the next two years. 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 contributions.

“The two drivers do have a good relationship, they’ve raced well for the team, and we’ve got no reason to see that being any different tomorrow or for the duration of their contractual commitments to the team thereafter. For Checo, we obviously made that commitment for two years earlier in the year, he made a good step this year.

“His performances, I think he felt more comfortable in the team at the beginning of the year after that first year joining during a COVID period. Hopefully he can round off what’s been a very strong year for him with that runner-up position in the championship this year, which is something we’ve never achieved before.

“Between the two of them, Max’s season has been truly outstanding: 14 grand prix victories, plus Checo’s two, 16 grand prix victories is more than we’ve ever achieved in our history and something we’re very proud of.”

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