Red Bull look set to take Daniel Ricciardo on as the team’s third driver for the 2023 season, Helmut Marko has confirmed.
While Liam Lawson is expected to be the official reserve driver for the charging bulls next year, it is understood that Ricciardo is expected to be a development driver.
The eight-time race winner was left with no choice but to take a break from Formula 1 in 2023 after his current team, McLaren, ended his contract early and few opportunities of interest came about.
Although the Aussie driver was linked to a number of seats at the back of the grid, he voiced that he would rather join a top team as a reserve with the potential of returning in a competitive car at a future date.
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There was talk of Ricciardo joining Mercedes in a reserve role, however, Red Bull have snapped up the opportunity for their ex-driver to return – four years on from his departure.
Speaking to Sky Sports in Germany, Helmut Marko, a Red Bull advisor, said: “Ricciardo will be our third driver.
“We have so many sponsors, we have to do show runs, so of course he’s one of the most high-profile and best-suited.”
As we head to the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi Ricciardo, told reporters “progress was being made” with his 2023 move and that “hopefully you can see my good looks again next year”.
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Ricciardo went on to say: “Mentally I’m not treating it like it’s going to be my last ever race, but it could be.
“I know that nothing’s guaranteed in the future so I’m going out to enjoy it, I’m not going to get too, let’s say, emotional about the thought that ‘oh, is it the last one or not?’.
“I do want to enjoy it and take it for what it is.”
Hampering his final race for the foreseeable future, Ricciardo will be hit with a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race after causing a collision with the Haas of Kevin Magnussen in Brazil last time out.
Joking about his misfortune he said: “I normally go better when I have penalties so I actually asked for a five-place penalty, but three will do so there you go.”