Daniel Ricciardo may be vacating his spot in the McLaren F1 team this year, but that doesn't mean he's leaving Formula One racing for good.
In what probably is one of the worst-kept secrets by Oracle Red Bull Racing, the Milton Keynes-based team has just announced that Daniel Ricciardo is coming home. That's right, the “Honey Badger” will rejoin RBR as a third driver for the 2023 season. Bringing with him a wealth of experience and character, Ricciardo will assist Red Bull Racing with testing and sim work, as well as commercial activity.
“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,” said Oracle Red Bull Racing Team Principal and CEO Christian Horner.
As for Ricciardo himself, the 33-year-old Italian-Australian racing driver shared that he cannot wait to come back home and be with the team. In addition, Ricciardo said that the welcome from Horner, Dr. Helmut Marko, and the entire RBR family is something that he appreciates.
“The smile says it all, I’m truly excited to be coming back home to Oracle Red Bull Racing as their Third Driver in 2023. 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. 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!,” said Ricciardo.
Daniel Ricciardo has secured 29 trophies to his name and has garnered plenty of high points in his first run with the Milton Keynes-based F1 team. In just his first year in 2014, he was able to finish 3rd in the overall championship and was able to get victories in Montreal and Budapest. In 2015, he made an epic Monaco performance and the fastest lap of the race, taking his maiden pole at the same race a year later.
In 2016, he was also the only driver to finish all 21 races while 2017 saw Daniel win a wild Azerbaijan Grand Prix and take eight other podiums before rolling into the 2018 season with a bang. He won two of the first six races that year, storming through the field in China and then an unforgettable race in Monaco.
With the Honey Badger back in RBR, could we see Ricciardo serve as a backup driver for Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen? Watch this space.