Daniel Ricciardo will make his final appearance for McLaren at this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after Oscar Piastri was signed as Lando Norris’s new team-mate for next year.
Daniel Ricciardo is not going to Red Bull in the expectation or hope that he will land a Formula 1 race drive with the team in future.
Ricciardo is set to sign with Red Bull as its third driver for 2023, where it’s expected he’ll perform simulator duties, show runs, and act as reserve driver for the team if needed.
On Friday, Helmut Marko claimed a deal had been signed with the Australian, though that was walked back by team boss Christian Horner who stated pen was yet to touch paper.
It is expected the deal will be concluded in short order, and potentially announced as soon as Monday.
Ricciardo’s signing comes at a time when tensions between Red Bull’s drivers are seemingly at an all-time high.
In Brazil, Max Verstappen refused to move aside for Sergio Perez, heightening tensions and prompting much overdue discussions between the squad’s drivers.
With Ricciardo already linked to a Red Bull return at that point, the dots were joined that he could offer a potential replacement if things deteriorated.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen in terms of the future,” Ricciardo said when asked if Red Bull offered his best route back to a race seat.
“That’s why also, going into tomorrow, I’m not treating it like my last race – but it could be.
“So I don’t really know what could be out there for ’24.
“Obviously to be with a top team like Red Bull would be nice, but it’s not like a guarantee that, just because I’m there, that’s the seat I’m taking.
“If something opens up, then again, I think just still being affiliated to a team and trying to get some work done, some testing perhaps, just to keep my sharp, would be good and I guess keeps me in… could be a wider conversation as well, perhaps with other teams.
“But that’s a few layers removed for now.”
There was interest from Haas for a race drive which ultimately went the way of Nico Hulkenberg.
Guenther Steiner was open in the media about his interest in Ricciardo, though his advances were not reciprocated.
“I don’t want to race next year. That’s the truth,” Ricciardo admitted.
“I don’t want to race next year, so that’s why not them.”
Ricciardo has stated that he’s looking to take a break from Formula 1 to recharge and come back hungrier than ever.
However, there is also the possibility that he does not miss the sport as he expects.
“Then I don’t come back,” he said when Speedcafe.com asked what he does should that be the case.
“That’s my answer. Like, honestly, I think that’s also, in a way, the beauty with this; it’ll either fuel the fire and make me hungry and more motivated, or it will actually be like ‘oh, this is the right thing for you’.
“And in that case, I must be really happy because, currently I still, as much as you go through highs and lows of racing, I’m still very happy with life.
“[I’m] privileged to live a good one, so if next year I’m not interested in coming back, then I must be doing some really cool shit.”
Red Bull wasn’t Ricciardo only option for 2023, with Mercedes having also shown interest in his services.
“Probably a bit timing,” the 33-year-old suggested when asked why he has, evidently, opted for Red Bull.
“That’s probably the main thing – well, not the main thing, there is something with probably a bit of familiarity which swayed me a bit towards Red Bull.
“I’ve always been jumping around a bit the last few years, so maybe going back to something familiar might be a little, I don’t want to say easier, it’s not easy, but in a way perhaps a little easier.
“They’re obviously both top teams,” he added.
“From that point of view, it’s a very good situation to be in.”
Red Bull wasn’t Ricciardo only option for 2023 Red Bull wasn’t Ricciardo only option for 2023