McLaren castaway, Daniel Ricciardo, will rejoin champions Red Bull to become its third driver for the 2023 F1 season. His work for the Austrian team will include testing, simulator work, and commercial activity.
Daniel Ricciardo once escaped Red Bull
Ricciardo is not a new face for Red Bull, as he has been their regular driver from 2014 to 2018. He started his stint on a high, beating 4-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel as a newcomer. He was also the only non-Mercedes driver to win a race in 2014.
The relationship with the energy-drink company went south after a crash with Verstappen in Baku, in 2018. However, Daniel finished his stay at Red Bull on a high with two wins in 2018, before departing for Renault.
The Australian wanted not to escape from the Verstappen bubble on time, searching for a new adventure with the French team. However, Renault didn’t meet the expectations, as Ricciardo’s run with them only resulted in two podium finishes, and one tattoo for Cyril Abiteboul.
This is when McLaren stepped up and saw Ricciardo as a perfect fit for their car. Although this proved to be false, their relationship peaked with a win in the 2021 Italian Grand Prix. It also happened to be McLaren’s last victory since 2012, as well as the only 1-2 finish for a team in 2021.
While everything looked exciting for this year, the Australian had a tough time getting used to the MCL36. This led to McLaren looking elsewhere for a driver to partner with Lando Norris, resulting in one of the most interesting off-track sagas this year.
The return of the wayward son
With all seats filled, Ricciardo was left with no choice but to consider a year on the sidelines. “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,” said Ricciardo.
“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!”
On the receiving end, Christian Horner said: “It is great to bring Daniel back into 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.”