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Daniel Ricciardo returning to Red Bull as test driver for 2023 Formula 1 season

Daniel Ricciardo will return to the site of his most successful years in Formula 1, backing up reigning two-time world champion Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez.

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

Key points:
  • Daniel Ricciardo drove for Red Bull from 2014 to 2018
  • He won seven of his eight grands prix with the team, which has won the past two world titles
  • Ricciardo was let go by McLaren earlier this year to make way for fellow Australian Oscar Piastri

Red Bull finalised the hiring after Ricciardo and the team both indicated during last weekend's season finale they were formalising the role.

As third driver, Ricciardo will help Red Bull with testing and simulator work, as well as commercial activity.

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

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

"[Ricciardo's role] 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."

Ricciardo first joined Red Bull in 2014 and enjoyed the most successful years of his career with the team, finishing third in the championship and scoring the first three of his eight career victories after being elevated from junior team Toro Rosso.

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 season, which included a victory at Monaco.

He then left the team to drive for Renault for two seasons, and spent the past two years with McLaren, giving the team its first race victory since 2012 with his win at last year's Italian Grand Prix.

While Ricciardo held the driver option with McLaren for 2023, he was bought out by the team to make way for fellow Australian Oscar Piastri.

Ricciardo had said repeatedly he was willing to sit out a season to remain 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," Ricciardo said of Red Bull.

"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."

Red Bull this season won both the driver and constructors' titles.

AP

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