Malta Independent

Ricciardo returns to Red Bull as team's third F1 driver


Daniel Ricciardo will return to Red Bull Racing next season as the team's third driver — a role which keeps the popular Aus‐ tralian in Formula One but not on the actual grid.

Red Bull finalized the hiring Wednesday after Ricciardo and the team both indicated during last weekend's season finale they were formalizin­g the role. As third driver, Ricciardo will help Red Bull with testing and simulator work, as well as com‐ mercial activity.

Max Verstappen, the reigning two‐time world champion, and Sergio Perez are the team's two drivers.

"It is great to bring Daniel back into the Red Bull family. He has enormous talent and such a bril‐ liant character, I know the whole factory is excited to be welcom‐ ing him home," said Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.

Horner said Ricciardo's role "will give us the chance to diver‐ sify, assisting in the develop‐ ment of the car, aiding the team with his experience and knowl‐ edge of what it takes to succeed in F1.

"We're very pleased to be working with Daniel again and look forward to everything he will bring to the team in 2023."

Ricciardo first joined Red Bull in 2014 and finished third in the championsh­ip and scored the first three of his eight career vic‐ tories. He won a race in 2016, the year he was the only driver to finish all 21 races on the schedule, and again in 2017 when he scored nine podiums.

Ricciardo won two of the first six races to open the 2018 sea‐ son, which included a victory at Monaco. He then left the team to drive for Renault for two sea‐ sons, then spent the last two years with McLaren. Ricciardo held the driver option with McLaren for 2023 but was bought out by the team.

He had said repeatedly he was willing to sit out a season to re‐ main in contention for a good seat on the F1 grid rather than take a ride with a backmarker team or move to another series.

"I already have so many fond memories of my time here," Ric‐ ciardo said of Red Bull. "For me personally, the ability to con‐ tribute to and be surrounded by the best team in F1 is hugely ap‐ pealing, whilst also giving me some time to recharge and refo‐ cus."

Red Bull this season won both the driver and constructo­rs ti‐ tles.

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