Christian Horner says Daniel Ricciardo will be useful for Red Bull’s commercial demands in US, while also assisting the team with F1 tyre testing and sim work.
Having lost his McLaren seat to Oscar Piastri, Ricciardo returned to Red Bull as its third driver for the 2023 F1 season. It is a homecoming for the Australian who left the team after his last contract expired at the end of the 2018 season.
He moved to Renault for two seasons before signing up with McLaren, but the performances never came at the latter and he was dropped. The 2022 season kind of killed his enthusiasm and so a year out as a third driver for Red Bull seemed the best idea.
Horner was happy to take him in where Ricciardo will help them out with some Pirelli tyre testing along with simulator run. The key work will be on the commercial side considering his jolly nature and with three races in USA, it will be a boost to the Red Bull brand.
“Daniel will be attending some races,” said Horner to Speedcafe’s KTM Summer Grill podcast. “Obviously, he will be our reserve driver for those events. He will probably do some tyre testing for us to help out with the Pirelli programme that gets distributed around the teams. He will be doing some work in the simulator.
“So he will be doing more of those activities. And then of course with the commercial demands that we have from the myriad of sponsors and partners that we have, particularly with a much bigger presence in the US, where Daniel is now predominantly based, with three Grands Prix there next year, he is going to have a busy agenda for the season ahead,” summed up Horner.
As pointed above, the Red Bull chief was surprised to see him in the market but was happy too to take him in. Horner also feels that the 2022 season drained him and that a year out will help him rediscover his love and passion for F1.
“We were surprised to see Daniel be out on the open market,” said Horner. “So, for us having grown up with Red Bull, having nurtured him since being a junior, it made sense for us to bring him back into the fold. A driver with so much experience and such a high profile. I think that Daniel had fallen out of love a little bit with Formula 1.
“He’s had a couple of really tough seasons, particularly in 2022. For him to play a supporting role to the race drivers, as our third driver, both back here in the factory and at events with all the commercial partners we have – as one of the most recognisable faces currently in and around Formula 1, for us it made a lot of sense
“And I hope in the process, Daniel will rediscover his passion for Formula 1, but we certainly have no plans to utilise him other than in that third driver role, to combine with the commercial activities that he will be performing,” summed up Horner.
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