Daniel Ricciardo has confirmed that a return to the Red Bull Formula 1 team as a reserve driver is highly likely for him in 2023, as his time with McLaren comes to an end. Despite not actually having a contract in place.
The Australian driver has never regained the form he had at Red Bull where he won seven races with the Austrian team, but only rarely managed to surpass his team-mate Lando Norris in the Woking team. Recognising that the partnership was not working, Daniel Ricciardo and McLaren have agreed to part ways at the end of this season.
The 33-year-old driver will take a year off next season with a view to returning to the grid in 2024.
A role as a reserve driver could allow the Australian to take this step aside. A few weeks ago, there were rumours that he could take on this role at Mercedes, but it was Helmut Marko who finally let the cat out of the bag this weekend in Abu Dhabi (read more here). After finishing ninth at Yas Marina in his last Grand Prix with McLaren, Ricciardo said he was indeed close to a return to Milton Keynes.
Ricciardo: “I will most likely be at Red Bull in 2023”
“It’s, let’s say, the most likely place for me,” he told Sky Sports. He told Sky Sports, before confirming he was talking about Red Bull.
“I can’t say 100 per cent until things are signed and whatever, but it’s certainly the most likely now, and I’m looking forward to it.”
“If that’s the case, I won’t be there for all 24 races, otherwise I might as well be on the grid somewhere. I’ve made it clear that I still need some time to myself and to take a step back. But yes, I’ll be there to some extent and I’ll try to be involved.”
A difficult time at McLaren
The Australian was frank about how he had managed to get through the last few difficult months at McLaren: “Probably the biggest thing I’ve learned is perspective,” says Ricciardo.
“I think it’s so easy to get caught up in the competition. We are so passionate about it, we literally dedicate our lives to it, we dedicate so much time to it. So when it doesn’t work out or it doesn’t go well, you can easily get angry, frustrated, bitter – a lot of negative emotions and feelings towards something that you really love.”
“So that’s where finding the right side of perspective has allowed me to maintain a lot of happiness, a lot of gratitude for that. Because yes you have your days, but ultimately it’s a privilege to do what you love.”
“It’s such a fun sport, and the environment, the people we meet, everything around us. So if you can take a step back and keep that gratitude, it helps a lot going forward,” concluded Daniel Ricciardo.