"A way to still stay involved" – Daniel Ricciardo explains his Red Bull deal for 2023 F1 season

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Daniel Ricciardo of McLaren [Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images]

Daniel Ricciardo believes his third driver role with Red Bull Racing will allow him to remain involved with the sport while he contemplates his options for the future. The Australian believes the opportunity will help him recharge himself as he takes a break from the sport in 2023.

Clarifying his position for next year, Ricciardo spoke to the on-site media at the Abu Dhabi test:

“To make things crystal clear, I’m still not on the grid next year. But look, it’s certainly a way to still stay involved and to give me the time necessary to take a back step... I just needed to step away for a bit, rebuild myself, reset a bit, and also just find the intense love for it. Because, at this level, if you don’t have that, then I’m not doing justice for myself or anyone around me. I’m not saying I’ve lost it, but I’m in fear of losing it.”
BREAKING: Daniel Ricciardo joins Red Bull Racing as third driver for 2023 #F1 @redbullracing

The Australian driver, who will be replaced by Oscar Piastri at McLaren, will be at Red Bull as their third driver.

Although he will not be on the grid in 2023 and insists he will be taking a break, Daniel Ricciardo fears losing the thirst for driving. The outgoing McLaren driver believes the opportunity at Red Bull will either help him regain his thirst to race again or help him quit the sport. He believes if he would have continued for another season, it would have exhausted him.

Explaining his reasons for the sabbatical, Daniel Ricciardo said:

“Obviously a race drive is the best thing if I want to stay, you know, that’s the surest thing. It just became more and more clear that I couldn’t be doing 24 races next year – it just wasn’t going to, I think, be the right thing for me. I think it would have just probably worn me out more than anything.”

Daniel Ricciardo feels Red Bull role will keep him relevant in the sport

The Australian driver believes that the winning culture at Red Bull made them the perfect choice for a sabbatical. He admitted talking with other teams for the same opportunity (a reserve driver) and feels staying in the garage and around F1 will keep his memory fresh in the minds of the fans.

Daniel Ricciardo feels the third driver role will allow him to develop the car and stay tuned with the automotive side of the sport while allowing him a break from its rigorous competitiveness.

Explaining the reasons for joining Red Bull, Daniel Ricciardo said:

“It’s a privilege but it is also demanding. Yes, we are really good at what we do, but we’re also still human and we still get tired, exhausted, fatigued. And at this level of sport, that is dangerous – you can’t be operating at 99 percent, even. So I really felt I was in fear of not being at my best if I did another year."

Ricciardo continued:

"Obviously, there were talks with other teams and I was like ‘Okay, if I’m not on the grid at least let me be aligned with a top team.' It’s nice to be in a winning environment, I think you learn a lot. Also, being linked with a top team, a bit like [Nyck] de Vries was with Mercedes, you’re living with a top team – You’re kind of more recognized and less forgotten.”
He's back! Welcome home, @DanielRicciardo 🇦🇺 #DR3ack

Citing the advantages of his third driver duties, Daniel Ricciardo said:

“I’m not going to do every race. I still want that time to myself, but I will still be at some races, do some simulation, listen and try to lend my experience and stuff and if I can help, sure, that’s a great thing. If I can do any form of testing, that would be nice just to stay also car-fit. And I’m sure when I’m at the races watching I’ll be envious. I’m not on the track, so these things will probably feed me in a good way.”

A return to Red Bull puts Daniel Ricciardo in a familiar atmosphere. The newly confirmed Red Bull third driver also explained to Sportskeeda in Abu Dhabi that he was looking forward to a break from the competitiveness of the sport as he was exhausted from his tenure at McLaren.

While his last successful feat remains his 2021 Monza victory, his best days have always been with Red Bull. With tensions rife between Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen as seen in Brazil, the former Red Bull driver will be an insurance policy for the team.

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Edited by Virat Deswal
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