By James Broughton, November 24, 2022
Stranger things often occur in Formula One. Non more so than Daniel Riccardo moving back home to live with his parents. His parents in this particular case are Red Bull, a Formula One team that everyone loves to hate. Riccardo’s move was caused by McLaren who terminated the Australian’s contract 1 year early. McLaren’s motives were simple, to replace an experienced Australian Italian with another albeit inexperienced Australian Italian, ergo Oscar Piastri. Piastri is the new young gun who will either sink or swim when his rookie year begins in 2023. Riccardo’s early exit from McLaren left him homeless on the F1 grid because the remaining seats were already under negotiation.
Riccardo explored the possibility of becoming a reserve driver for Mercedes, but he is too good a driver. But stranger things do happen in F1, so he’s back to where it all started, back home with Red Bull. Riccardo won’t be sleeping on the couch, he signed up for reserve driver duties. The team appears overjoyed to have Ricciardo back home, though it may be for just one season. Even Mad Dog Helmut Marko was beaming with delight at Riccardo’s return.
So happy was the Mad Dog that he decided to reveal the news a few days early, a rare expression of joy from Red Bull’s chief romper stomper. Nevertheless, Riccardo’s final season at McLaren was painful, his form mutated like the coronavirus, a few big highs followed by too many lows. The McLaren car never really suited his driving style, perhaps rejoining Red Bull as a reserve driver will allow Riccardo to recharge his batteries.
Red Bull confirmed Riccardo will assist the team with sim work and testing in addition to commercial activity. A delighted Christian Horner said:
“It’s 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.”
“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. We are very pleased to be working with Daniel again and look forward to everything he will bring to the team in 2023.”
Of his return to Red Bull Riccardo 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. I can’t wait to be with the team and support with simulator work, testing sessions and commercial activities. Let’s go!”
“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.