Daniel Ricciardo has confirmed his career has gone full circle with a return to Red Bull Racing in 2023.
The 33-year-old Aussie star will be the reserve driver for the world champion team behind world champ Max Verstappen and teammate Sergio Perez, returning to the team where he made his name.
The move had been widely speculated in recent weeks and even Red Bull’s official announcement confirmed the “worst kept secret” un the sport.
“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,” Ricciardo said.
“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!”
Ricciardo’s return comes after less successful stints with Renault and McLaren in recent seasons and he’s back at a team where his popularity soared, where he won races and his smile endeared him to fans worldwide.
His role now will involve “testing, sim work and commercial activity” with Ricciardo set to attend some, not all, F1 events on the 2023 calendar but he’s likely to be in Melbourne.
Team principal Christian Horner said Ricciardo’s return would make the best team in pit lane even stronger.
“It is great to bring Daniel back in to the Red Bull family,” Horner said.
“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.
“We’re very pleased to be working with Daniel again and look forward to everything he will bring to the Team in 2023.”