After two years at Renault and two more at McLaren, Daniel Ricciardo will return to Red Bull next season. However, his “old love” was not the only option for the Australian to stay in Formula 1. Mercedes also made efforts to sign the 33-year-old, as he now revealed publicly for the first time.
“There were also talks with Mercedes,” Ricciardo revealed in the Fast Lane podcast that the Silver Arrows were trying to recruit him and would have liked to sign him as a third driver. The Australian was also initially very taken with the idea. He had felt a “certain appetite” to join Toto Wolff, Lewis Hamilton and co.
“But then it stalled a bit. And at the same time, the Red Bull thing made more and more sense,” Ricciardo said, describing how the pendulum ultimately tipped towards his old employer. For him, the old connections to the Austrians were sometimes decisive.
“Red Bull is the right move for me”
“I’ve obviously been bouncing around a bit in the last two years and maybe a bit of family is quite good for me. Just to go back and work with the people I’ve worked with before. And driving a car that I got on very well with,” Ricciardo said, describing his decision-making process.
He felt that Red Bull gave him “the environment that suits me best and lets me find out what my next step is and what I really want to do after 2023,” added the 33-year-old, who will be number three in the team next season behind Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez and will do numerous promotional events for the Red Bulls in addition to simulator testing and test drives.