Australian F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo will be returning to his former employer Red Bull as the team's third driver for the Formula 1 2023 season. The news was confirmed by the Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko. Further reports say that Ricciardo will be a development driver, with Liam Lawson as the official reserve.
The 33-year-old Australian was without a car on the grid for next season after having his contract with McLaren terminated a year early after two disappointing seasons with the British team. Ricciardo was linked with several teams to come back on the grid, but he expressed that he would prefer to join a top team in a reserve role with the hope to return to a more competitive car in 2024.
"Ricciardo will be our third driver," Marko told Sky Sports in Germany. "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." Marko also expressed that Red Bull junior driver Liam Lawson, who took one of the Red Bull cars in the first practice at the Abu Dhabi GP, would be Red Bull's reserve driver. Ricciardo's role will be more towards development, although Red Bull has yet to confirm the move with an announcement.
Ahead of the Abu Dhabi weekend, Ricciardo believes that "progress was being made" with his 2023 move and that "hopefully you can see my good looks again next year". The Australian further talked about how he doesn’t consider the race in Abu Dabhi as his last.
He said, "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."