After months of speculation on where Formula 1 driver / pride of our nation Daniel Ricciardo would end up next Formula 1 season, the Honey Badger has confirmed that he is indeed rejoining his old team Red Bull. Oh, the drama!
If you follow F1 and/or Netflix’s docuseries Formula 1: Drive To Survive, you’ll know that Ricciardo’s relo with Red Bull has been… interesting.
Ricciardo spent five seasons with the team (clocking up seven Grand Prix wins) and was basically squeezed out at the end of 2018 by principal Christian Horner (Ginger Spice‘s husband and messy villain of Drive to Survive) so that emerging Dutch driver Max Verstappen could shine.
Ricciardo had short-lived two year stints at Renault and McLaren respectively, and aside from his Italian Grand Prix win in 2021 he hasn’t really seen much success over the past few seasons.
Meanwhile Verstappen has been world champion two years in a row — so hero-ing him clearly paid off for Horner and Red Bull.
Red Bull and Ricciardo confirmed the long-rumoured news on Thursday and provided more intel on Danny Ric’s role. Since Red Bull has two drivers — Verstappen and Mexico’s Sergio Perez — Ricciardo will be there in a BTS capacity.
Red Bull Racing’s official statement read:
“Daniel Ricciardo will return home and re-join the team as our third driver for 2023. Bringing a wealth of experience and character, Daniel will assist the team with testing and sim work, as well as commercial activity.”
Confusingly, “third driver” doesn’t mean Ricciardo is the team’s reserve driver — that role was given to NZ driver Liam Lawson in July. If Max Verstappen falls over and breaks his leg, Lawson will step up to fill in. Not that I’m manifesting that or anything… *eye twitch*.
But if Verstappen, Perez and Lawson all break their legs at once, then Danny Ric will be in with a shot!
Daniel Ricciardo posted the news on his Instagram on Thursday, and made an official statement for Red Bull’s site. “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,” he said.
“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.”
To me, that reads like this is a gap year situation where Daniel Ricciardo can just chill for a bit, smile in a few pics and keep his eye out for another role that will see him back in the driver’s seat. And wouldn’t we all love to see that.