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Daniel Ricciardo returns to Red Bull as third driver for 2023 Formula 1 season

Daniel Ricciardo announced earlier this year that he would be leaving McLaren at the end of the 2022 season; Ricciardo returns to Red Bull after leaving the team for Renault at the end of 2018; Ricciardo to be third driver involved in testing, simulator work and commercial activities

Daniel Ricciardo has returned to Red Bull as third driver for 2023
Image: Daniel Ricciardo has returned to Red Bull as third driver for 2023

Daniel Ricciardo is "excited to be coming back home" after being confirmed as Red Bull's third driver for the 2023 Formula 1 season.

Ricciardo rejoins Red Bull, who he left at the end of 2018 for Renault, after leaving McLaren at the end of the 2022 season.

"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.

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Check out some highlights from Daniel Ricciardo's incredible career in Formula 1

"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!"

The 33-year-old is an eight-time race winner - seven of which came during his first spell with Red Bull - and his duties with the team in 2023 will include testing and simulator work, as well as commercial activity.

Horner: Ricciardo has 'enormous talent'

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

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"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."

The Australian hopes to return to F1 in a competitive seat in 2024 but has admitted the time away from the grid may change his mind.

"I knew that I wanted some time off next year from a race seat and just from competition," Ricciardo said at the Abu Dhabi GP.

"It's obviously been pretty tiring the last couple of years with the struggles, so it was pretty clear to me shortly after the summer break that that was what I wanted, and what was going to be best for me.

"So then it was, 'ok, what's the next best thing?'. And the more I thought about it, to obviously be involved to some degree with a top team, that was obviously the preference.

"It'll either fuel the fire and make me hungry and more motivated than ever, or it will be like, 'oh, this is the right thing for you'. In that case... then I must be really happy."

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Nico Rosberg says it is difficult to understand the dramatic decline in Daniel Ricciardo's performance over the last two seasons.

Ricciardo opts for move 'home'

Red Bull and Ricciardo parted ways at the end of 2018, opting to join Renault in a move that surprised Horner and the team.

In four years at Red Bull, Ricciardo recorded seven of his eight grand prix victories with the team and finished third in the drivers' championship twice.

He spent two years at Renault and McLaren before deciding to part ways with McLaren earlier this year.

Ricciardo was heavily linked with a Mercedes reserve role but has opted to return to Red Bull.

After his final race with McLaren, he opened up on his struggles in recent years.

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Christian Horner discussed Daniel Ricciardo's pending return to Red Bull at the Abu Dhabi GP

"There were certainly some races where I felt more comfortable," he said. "The difficulty, the struggle was that that encouraged me and then all of a sudden, a week later, we were back where we were.

"The inconsistency, the unknown, was what made it so tricky but I am happy to have had a few nice [races] since the summer break.

"I have learned perspective. It is so easy to get caught up in competition. We devote so much time to it and when it is not going well you can so easily get angry, frustrated and bitter. Get so many negative emotions towards something you truly love.

"Perspective allowed me to maintain happiness and appreciation. You have your days but is a privilege to do what we love - it is such a fun sport. The surroundings, the travel, all the people we meet. Whatever you do in life, gratitude helps you move forward a lot."

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