‘Welcome home’: Daniel Ricciardo rejoins Red Bull as F1 champions’ reserve driver

Daniel Ricciardo has rejoined Red Bull as the team’s reserve driver for the 2023 season.

The Australian departs McLaren after an underwhelming two-season spell, but will rebound and remain in F1 by backing up Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

“The smile says it all,” Ricciardo said. “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!”

While Christian Horner added: “It is great to bring Daniel back in to 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.”

Ricciardo, who has won eight times in F1 – seven with Red Bull between 2014 and 2018 – has been handed a temporary lifeline with Helmut Marko, Red Bull’s motorsport adviser, revealing to German television in Abu Dhabi that Ricciardo, who discussed a reserve role with Mercedes, has signed a contract with the Milton Keynes team.

“We have not signed anything yet, but in Helmut’s enthusiasm, he has announced it, so I guess that means Daniel will be joining us unless he chooses not to sign it,” said Horner.

“Daniel is a big character and it has been disappointing to see his performances this season, but he is still one of the biggest names and biggest characters in Formula One.

“With the demands on the race drivers, from a marketing perspective alone, to have a driver of Daniel’s profile and history with the team within the group is only an asset for us.

“He keeps in touch with Formula One and we will be using him on the simulator and attending some events.”