Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Yas Marina, 2022

Ricciardo will return to Red Bull as ‘third driver’ next year, says Marko

2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Daniel Ricciardo will rejoin Red Bull next year as a third driver, the team’s motorsport consultant Helmut Marko has said.

Marko told Sky Germany Ricciardo will return to the team but Liam Lawson will continue in the role of reserve driver for both Red Bull and AlphaTauri.

Lawson drove Max Verstappen’s RB18 in first practice at Yas Marina today and has also appeared twice for AlphaTauri in practice sessions this year.

Ricciardo was backed by Red Bull on his way to Formula 1. He joined the team in 2014, winning three races, and added four more victories before leaving at the end of 2018.

He spent two years at Renault then signed a three-year deal to drive for McLaren. But aside from a surprise victory in the Italian Grand Prix last year, Ricciardo seldom performed at the level expected by the team, and an agreement was reached for him to leave a year early at the end of 2023.

With few race seats available for 2023, Ricciardo is understood to have pursued a substitute role at a leading team, and was linked to a move to Mercedes at one stage. However Marko’s revelation means Ricciardo will instead return to Red Bull next season, five years after he walked out.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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62 comments on “Ricciardo will return to Red Bull as ‘third driver’ next year, says Marko”

  1. Checo out??

    1. Wow – late silly season.
      Redbull know what Ricciardo needs in a car and he performs better on certain, more familiar tracks. I don’t pay Perez all that much attention but I’d say he only stands out in races that are hard on tyres – maybe they’ll actually wax it.

      1. Yes. Perez has been a disappointment. It’s very hard to figure how he is so far behind Max with the RB.

        I used to question Bottas and suggested Perez is better. I was wrong. I bet Hulkenberg would have had more points this season than Perez.

        1. How has Perez been a disappointment? 3 race wins, 2 this year when Verstappen was not in position to do so. Arguably crucial role in helping Max win in That’s exactly what he was hired to do, and not rock the boat. I’d Ray the recent rocking was instigated by someone else.

          1. Sure, it’s a fair point that Perez is doing an okay job, but he’s also been too often out of position to help Max, leaving several places between Max and him for the competition to fill.

            That Perez has 2 race wins this year is all well and good, but considering the car he’s had anything less than that would have been an extremely poor job done. It will be interesting to see where he ranks next year when the competition is -hopefully- a bit tighter.

          2. Pérez would be a far bigger help to Verstappen (and Red Bull) if he could finish ahead of the competition more often. That he had some high profile moves to block Hamilton is fine, and a good use of the second car, but there were 18 races last year where he didn’t take a single point from Hamilton. Similarly this year, and even now he’s still behind Leclerc in the standings.

          3. How has Perez been a disappointment? 3 race wins,

            His performance was generally better before RBR altered the car to suit Max

      2. Perez has succeeded in providing solid results, wins and real support to Verstappen where Gasly, Albon and Kvyat failed to do so. Surely that’s clear?

  2. someone or something
    18th November 2022, 12:57

    I thought he was to join Mercedes as a sim driver or whatever. Or was that just an unsubstantiated rumour?

    1. @someone or something Things changed over time.

  3. PER is probably out. VER has reasons to never do anything for PER and the team agrees with VER, so PER has to go as the team will need 2 cars next year to battle Mercedes and possibly Ferrari.

    1. I’ll take this a bit further and suggest that VER gave Red Bull an ultimatum, him or me. I don’t see how their differences could be reconciled especially when the team didn’t take a neutral position in the disagreement.

    2. @jimfromus Decision to kick Perez out is down to Helmet not wunderkind, I always rated perez as an average pay driver Journeyman who was less talented than Kamui Kobayosi when he was at Sauber but Sergio does have lots of power in F1 has because he brings in huge Carlos Slim telmex/telcel cash plus his marketability with the Mexican Gp.

      Only way perez will be out of the team is if Carlos Slim stops paying or Helmet is worried that he isn’t being an obedient number 2 driver anymore and Danny Ric would be the better option.

    3. Even before this happened / once Alpine took the genius decision to pair Gasly w/Ocon, RBR was the only way I ever envisioned DR having a shot of returning without resorting to Haas, especially with it being the only team that has any drivers not locked in for a while.

  4. A bit of stirring and winding up of some of the characters in the latest crisis, and he might get himself a few races!

    Definitely feels like a better fit than Mercedes. Will he be AlphaTauri reserve too?

  5. Marko: “It was nice knowing Sergio” LOL

  6. If Perez is ousted…..would be so cruel after (assuming this happens) being the first RB driver to finish second in standings behind the other becoming champion. Personally i’m a fan of Perez (and not of Ricciardo or Verstappen (despite being Dutch)). For as far as I know Sergio had a contract extension for ’23 and ’24. Though there’s probably some clause that makes it possible to axe him. Either way, if RB does that….i’ll be pretty disappointed about them (and the general under appreciation of Perez by many teams).

  7. RBR and, Mercedes too, know how to play the game. This is an implicit threat to Checo to impede him from doing anything silly with regard to helping Max in 2023.

    1. @tifoso1989 Spot on. The question mark is how much performance Ricciardo has lost over the past few years since leaving Red Bull. I presume that given the chance to adapt, he’d be closer to Verstappen than Perez, but maybe not and maybe Red Bull wouldn’t even want that. Just his presence there is designed to keep Checo in check though.

      1. @david-br
        Magnussen who wasn’t great when he left and possibly Hulkenberg next year can give Daniel the benefit of the doubt. Besides, some rumours suggested that he was not fully committed with McLaren as he was building business interests outside of F1. I also feel that Daniel given the fact that he is accustomed to the RBR environment can be closer to Verstappen than Perez.

        In the past Webber was allowed to race for his self interest despite the fact that he had bad relationship with all the senior RBR management including Horner, Marko and Newey and their golden boy Sebastian Vettel. Though that was mainly due to the special relationship he enjoyed with Dietrich Mateschitz who always gave him priority when it comes to contract extension till he decided to quit at the end of 2013.

        1. @tifoso1989 Good points, Red Bull also (it’s possible) may even want to put a bit of subtle leverage on Verstappen by threatening to ‘upgrade’ his team mate or even installing Ricciardo for the same purpose of adding some pressure. Verstappen seems to be the de facto team boss now. Not healthy even for them. I really wanted Ricciardo to stay at RBR and like his style (and personality) so I’m all for him returning if he can recover that past performance. Still think MV would win over a season.

          1. Ric loves the limelight and to be fair with McClaren he played a pantomime character.
            As a marketing tool, Ric is probably the best Red Bull can ask for.
            So with the chemistry between Ric and Max, I do expect they will be team mates again.
            It is just a matter of the right timing when what Checo did in darkness will come to light.

          2. @david-br
            Totally agree with you. I think for someone as experienced as Christian Horner, the alarm bells must be already ringing in his head. Verstappen and Perez case. Some imperfections in racing operations (strategy and pitstops) which is rare at RBR. The team must be suffering from the “full belly” syndrome and they are not as hungry as last year for example and in F1 things can turn around really quickly.

            Add to that the return of Mercedes next year with the best drivers line up and Ferrari even if they will not challenge for the championship, they could still intervene, unlike 2021, by snatching points from both Mercedes and RBR. Definitely there is some work to do for Christian Horner to be perfect again in 2023.

  8. I don’t think we should read too much into this. Let’s see what happens. Could be a mid-year switch if Perez doesn’t perform, but we know Ric and Ver didn’t exactly get along either so…

    1. Yeah, I think it’s a combination of RBR not really having anyone ready to go on the books right now and Daniel being available for cheap @ruz234014. Red Bull know him, so they know what to expect from him as a 3rd driver/ simulator/development driver. With the added benefit of learning even more about the mercedes engine AND getting someone to signal Perez to keep being a supportive teammate (or be out).

    2. Ric and Ver are best mates and very close.
      You reap what you sow, so when Checo cheats again, he’s out.
      Checo is not in the league of Max and probably Ric neither.
      But I reckon, Max is more likely to do Ric a favor.
      So as soon Checo does not play second fiddle, he wil burn all his bridges.

      1. This Comment is so unfair to Checo. There is a reason why Ricciardo left. I am sure it will be the same reason Perez will go. Does not matter if he is pushed out or not.

        1. I do like Checo a lot, but in a billion dollar business pampering is not on the agenda, results count to get the marketing machine running on full cylinders.
          Ric left and he has admitted it, because he was afraid the team would favor Max even more in the future.
          In 2 years time Checo has not performed, the way Ric performed when he was teammate to Max.
          Don’t forget in the time Max and Ric were teammates, Mercedes was very dominant and Red Bull could only pick up the leftovers.
          You can argue that they favored Max over Checo, but in the end the results don’t lie and justify their approach.
          So far, Max 24 wins and Checo 3 in the 2 years they were teammates with a car better matched to the dominance of Mercedes.

          1. in a billion dollar business pampering is not on the agenda,

            Fortunately, I didn’t have a drink in my mouth when I read that, cleaning the screen is so tiresome.
            Pampering and stroking Max’s ego is exactly what RBR have been doing for a number of years.

            So far, Max 24 wins and Checo 3 in the 2 years they were teammates with a car better matched to the dominance of Mercedes.

            Checo’s performance dropped off as RBR “developed” the car to match what Max wanted, and you will probably recall Max has told Pirelli what he wants from the tyres in 2023 so that he gets even more front end grip to match his banzai style

  9. It’s probably the best he could hope for. Though still a bit strange a race winner taking up a reserve role, but I guess it keeps him in the game.

  10. They will test the hell out of this guy before thinking on handing him a seat.

    He might be a better fit than Perez, who’s too inconsistent. Can drive a great race then a week later fail to get in Q3.

    But he would find a very different team than the one he left, and a very different Max. He left because he got tired of being left to the side in favour of Max, now he would be facing that again but up to 11.

    Is he so desperate to accept now what he couldn’t 4 years ago?

    1. I think Ricciardo would be more willing to accept being a number 2 after the last few years. When he left Red Bull he was a star. Some people even thought he could challenge for a WDC if he had the right car. Now he’s been declining for at least two years, and had a truly awful year in 2022. I’d play second fiddle to Max if it meant getting back in a top car and having a good chance to win races.

  11. When Ricciardo said he refused to be second driver at Red Bull, he was not wrong. He is third…

    1. @matthijs brutal but COTD

  12. Perez is the best they are going to get. All of these guys are alpha males, except Checo. He has done exactly as he has been asked without making any waves. Moving aside for Max and holding up competition when needed. Without Checo, Max isn’t the 2021 WDC. Red Bull owe Checo more. That being said, I expect that Daniel is no longer the alpha male he once was after the humbling experience he has had since leaving RBR. But I am also far from convinced that he can be any faster than Checo.

    1. Any advancement beyond 3rd wheel for Ricciardo is going to require that he, somehow, demonstrate that he can get back to his previous winning ways.
      If his recent form at McLaren is where he is really at and he is not going to revert to the DR of old, then as MP said, “The end is nigh.”

  13. Some silly comments on here about Checo. Yes he has underperformed compared to Max. But I would argue he should have won in Saudi Arabia and there was a slim chance of a victory in Spain but the team prioritized Max and ruined Checos strategy which I thought was ridiculous at that stage of the season.
    At the start of the season Checo was much, much closer to Max. But car development saw that gap widen.

    Ricciardo never got to grips with that McLaren, it’s sad.. But I don’t really see him driving for Red Bull unless Checo has a shocker. Even then, I’m not sure he would be a good candidate to replace Checo in the long run.

    1. It’s low key racism. You can be 100% sure if we were talking about British driver, rather than some Mexican, there is no doubt whatsoever driver who’s signed for both 2023 and 2024 is suddenly getting booted out for reserve driver, who was totally exposed in another team. Yet because it’s Perez from Mexico and Ricciardo from Australia, people want Mexican driver gone. Absolutely abhorrent comments!

  14. Lets sum this up. Perez is scr*wed by Max last week, said he had his reasons but didn’t tell why. Ricciardo is announced as third driver and we know he did not accept a full driver seat at Haas. On top of that we know that RB swaps drivers if they don’t perform. I said it after the incident last weekend this doesn’t make sense for Max to do with your teammate for next year.

    1. Yes, driver signed for 2023 and 2024 is getting replaced by somebody totally annihilated in another team 2 years running. Racism against Mexicans is alive and kicking, yay :/

      1. Racism? Haha this is ridiculous has nothing to do with being mexican. True Ricciardo is outperformed by Lando but so is Perez by Max the last two years. I still rate Ricciardo higher than Perez. But its all speculation we have to wait and see.

        1. Ricciardo at his time came out better compared to verstappen than perez has, but he also faced a less experienced verstappen: he was struggling to keep up in 2018.

        2. Of course it’s racism! You wouldn’t say it if we’re talking about replacing British or at least English-as-first-language driver. But because it’s Perez from Mexico (same disdain is shown for Japanese drivers) people tarnish his name for no reason other than covert racism.

          Ricciardo wasn’t “outperformed” by Norris (who BTW was beaten by Sainz both seasons they were together, the same Sainz who was beaten by Max). He was utterly demolished by Norris. But hey, he should replace Perez, with his 2 year Red Bull contract, some time next year because… just because!

          1. ‘Mexican’ is not a race so cannot be racism.

          2. You are assuming that if he was British I wouldn’t say this. But that assumption is incorrect. The other part of your comment makes sense but still I don’t think Ricciardo will accept a deal with RB if there wasn’t an option sooner or later to have a chance to get in to that race seat. Like I said it’s speculation but certainly not racism.

  15. I don’t understand why people are trying to link this to the team orders controversy. IF Red Bull decide to out Perez, they can get practically any driver they want from the grid, drivers who would willingly break contracts to join the RB, such is the strength of RB today (financially, car-wise, pit stop-wise, strategy-wise). They don’t need to keep someone on standby.

    Ricciardo joining is a low risk move. They can run him in the simulator, few demo runs, etc.. Even if it doesn’t work, they will get decent publicity given Ricciardo’s personality for a few quid. If his performance is really good, bonanza

    Smart move by Red Bull. Once again, taking an asset that no one wants. They took Honda in 2018 when no one wanted it, they took Perez in 2021 when no one wanted him. And now Ricciardo in 2023. The first two yielded amazing dividends. Third time lucky?

  16. A lot of people read too much into this… he’s purely there for his media popularity. In terms of driving – finished. He’s been the second-worst driver in F1 for the last two years, and if RB were to replace Perez, presumably after next season at the earliest, I’m sure there’ll be much better options.

    1. Purely there for media?

      A guy who won a race in the last two seasons, is currently the second worst guy on the grid? Clearly not. And clearly, in the right car, he’ll be a bargain. This is the guy who literally came into RBR and in his first season replaced Vettel at RBR’s golden boy. You don’t get those type of results by being lucky.

      -Literally the only guy in 2014 to win besides Rosberg and Hamilton. And not only win, but win twice.
      -Trounced Vettel
      -Matched Max and was the only drive to get under his skin (remember how angry Max and his dad were when DR won pole in Mexico). Yes, Max was clearly on the rise and was likely going to start beating DR on a 60/40 basis.
      -Beat Hulkenberg easily
      -Dominated Ocon
      -Looked very bad in a McLaren whose every characteristic is the opposite of what he likes.

      2nd worst driver on the grid? Don’t know what that says for all the guys he beat. You don’t forget how to drive over night. It’s clearly a case that Daniel has a weakness. Unlike a guy like Alonso, he can’t take a car that doesn’t suit him at all and drag it way up the grid. But there are few drivers who can do that. Importantly, even after big design changes, these cars tend to keep the same basic traits. Think of how many generations in a row the FI tended to be easy on its tires, the Renaults made great starts, had strong exit traction and tended to understeer, how long the RBR has been a mediocre starter, has had a strong front end and a loose rear and so on. So, it’s almost certain the RBR will still be suited to

      1. 2014 is a long time ago now… As for Hulk, well he’s never been much to shout about. Ocon was returning after a time out (and got very close in the second half of the season). And yes, Ricciardo won a race last year, but that was pretty much his only good weekend in a Mclaren, and even then it doesn’t paper over all the cracks. He has been truly awful – slow, error-prone and if anything, regressing. It would make no sense for any team to hire him for a race seat now, particularly with plenty of promising younger drivers waiting to enter the sport.

        1. Correction, it was three races won in a season where not a single non-MB driver win v. zero for Vettel and he beat him in the qualifying battle easily as well. Even if you deleted his wins, he still got more podiums than Vettel. A guy some here (insanely IMO) rank as good or better than FA or LH.

          It was a long time ago, but was beating Max in one season and then being quite close the next a long time ago?

          Was making Hulk look average a long time ago?
          Was dominating Ocon and taking 5th in the WDC in a Renault a long time ago?

          I would argue know and the only thing that happened was he went to a team where the car didn’t suit at all and also lots of technical issues in some of his worst looking drives.

          So, I’d say it’d be crazy not to think of him as a fantastic driver if he has the car to suit him.

          So, he does all and suddenly

  17. I’m not very interested in Perez and love Ricciardo, but how can anyone suggest he’s going to replace a very successful top-flight driver after 3 full years of under-achieving? Danny hasn’t shown consistent pace since he left Red Bull, but Checo was promoted on merit which was obvious to the world.

    1. Not sure how this myth was created that he hasn’t been consistent since leaving Red Bull. His struggles were only at McLaren. He easily beat Hulk and Ocon at Renault and finished 5th in the WDC at Renault. How much higher could you expect someone not in a MB, RB or Ferrari to do? Teams and fans seem to have the memories of fleas, which may explain why even if he maximizes the results of the Renault, he’s “struggled since leaving RBR.”

  18. Just put Danny Rick in the second Red Bull seat instead of Checo. Someone needs to give Max a fair fight.
    I find it crazy that the Hulk can get a drive yet Ricardo doesn’t? Scratch my head sometimes

    1. Well, he could have gone to Haas, but he didn’t want to. I find signing Magnussen to a multi-year deal a lot more confusing than signing Hulk.

      As for Alpine, though he easily beat Ocon and solidly beat Hulk, Laurent Rossi’s ego was too fragile to resign a guy who had left the team and would be coming from the team who stole their golden boy. He probably thought it’d feel like dating the girl your neighbor dumped when he stole your hot GF. lol

    2. Why? Ricciardo was demolished by Norris last 2 seasons. What gives you even the idea he would be any better than Perez? Just because he shouts obscenities like a very low IQ person? Sooooo funny, he should become comedian then instead of taking seats in F1.

      1. You’re the not sharpest tool in the shed, huh? This sounds personal to you. Checo gets annihilated by Max and Daniel beat him once and lost to him once.

        A guy who won a race in the last two seasons, is currently the second worst guy on the grid? Clearly not. And clearly, in the right car, he’ll be a bargain. This is the guy who literally came into RBR and in his first season replaced Vettel at RBR’s golden boy. You don’t get those type of results by being lucky.

        -Literally the only guy in 2014 to win besides Rosberg and Hamilton. And not only win, but win three times
        -Trounced Vettel in quali, podiums, etc.

        -Beat Max once and lost once.
        -Was the only driver to get under Max’s skin (remember how angry Max and his dad were when DR won pole in Mexico).

        -Beat Hulkenberg easily

        -Dominated Ocon

        -The only common factor here: McLaren. The only thing that happened was he went to a team where the car didn’t suit him at all, he had a lot of technical issues too that got little coverage.

        If he “sucks.” What does that say about the all guys he beat?

  19. Ricciardo is the only teammate to have beaten Max, albeit while Max was still developing.

    Maybe the refusal to obey Brazil team orders in Brazil was a message to Ric. Not a message to Checo

  20. Pretty hilariously clueless view of a guy who literally came into RBR and in his first season replaced Vettel at RBR’s golden boy. You don’t get those type of results by being lucky.

    -Literally the only guy in 2014 to win besides Rosberg and Hamilton. And not only win, but win twice.
    -Trounced Vettel
    -Matched Max and was the only drive to get under his skin (remember how angry Max and his dad were when DR won pole in Mexico). Yes, Max was clearly on the rise and was likely going to start beating DR on a 60/40 basis.
    -Beat Hulkenberg easily
    -Dominated Ocon
    -Looked very bad in a McLaren whose every characteristic is the opposite of what he likes.

    That’s the 2nd worst driver on the grid? For some reason you must DR to say that.

    1. This was supposed to be a reply to another comment, but the system messed up.

  21. No chance they want him to replace Perez, he’s way past that point.

    This reads like he’s replacing Coulthard who spent many years driving old RedBulls for promotional YouTube videos.

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