Danny Ric has made a triumphant return to his old team.
Daniel Ricciardo will not be taking the year off after all; Red Bull Racing confirmed it has signed Danny Ric as its third driver for the 2023 F1 season. According to Red Bull, Daniel will help the team with testing, sim work, and commercial activities. The latter part of the job description clearly indicates that Red Bull still sees the value in having Ricciardo on the grid.
Daniel Ricciardo was the first driver to sign up for Netflix's Formula 1: Drive to Survive, with much of the first season dedicated to his prowess. As a result, Ricciardo became a fan favorite, on par with Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, but without the toxic fandom. Everyone loves the friendly racer from Oz, and his presence brought some much-needed humor to a sport that has a habit of taking itself way too seriously.
He also has a large American fanbase and is a well-known fan of the USA. Considering three races will be hosted in the US next year, it makes sense to have Danny boy around, if only for marketing purposes.
"It is great to bring Daniel back into the Red Bull family," said Oracle Red Bull Racing Team Principal and CEO Christian Horner. "He has enormous talent and such a brilliant character; I know the whole factory is excited to be welcoming him home." Speaking of Ricciardo's role within the team as test and third driver, Horner says he will "[assist] in the development of the car, and 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."
Daniel Ricciardo has earned 32 trophies throughout his F1 career including eight race wins, seven of those with Red Bull. Ricciardo will race in a 2023 Grand Prix if either of the two main drivers cannot compete due to health or personal reasons. It happened a few times this year, most notably when Nyck de Vries stood in for Alex Albon.
Following a series of poor decisions, he ended up at McLaren and could not make it work. It's kind of awkward, considering McLaren built a limited edition 720S in honor of his victory for the team last season. Not as bad as the Alpine-Alonso snafu, but still.
"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," says Ricciardo. "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." He highlights "the ability to contribute to and be surrounded by the best team in F1" as being massively appealing while also citing the opportunity as one that gives him "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," said Ricciardo.