Daniel Ricciardo has been linked with a shock return to Red Bull in 2023 as a reserve driver.
Ricciardo announced earlier this month that he won't be on the F1 grid next year, opting to take the year off and reassess his future in the sport.
However Sky Sports reporter Ted Kravitz revealed on Saturday at the US Grand Prix that the Aussie driver has secured a spot as a reserve driver for 2023.
“I’ve got some good news for Daniel Ricciardo fans,” Kravitz said.
“He might not have a race drive for next year, but I do understand he has closed out a reserve driver drive next year.
"So he told us on Thursday, he will be around about the F1 paddock next year.”
While initial speculation was that Ricciardo would link up with Mercedes, Kravitz suggested he will actually make a sensational return to Red Bull.
“We thought Mercedes, because they now have a vacancy given that Nyck De Vries, their reserve driver, is going to Alpha Tauri," Kravitz said.
"I’m told it’s not Mercedes. So that only leaves Red Bull, the (only two) teams who have a reserve driver on hand at every race.”
Ricciardo drove for Red Bull from 2014 to 2018 before leaving the team to link up with Renault.
After two years at Renault he joined McLaren, but has never managed to achieve the same results he experienced at Red Bull.
“I thought for him he’d be better having a clean break and then coming back,” Martin Brundle said in response to Kravitz's revelation.
“Maybe it’s just keeping your foot in the door somewhere, doing some simulated work but trudging around a Formula 1 track not participating … you need a pretty tough mindset for that.”
Speaking earlier this week in America, Ricciardo said he was hoping to remain involved in F1 in 2023.
“You will see me around,” he said.
“It’s going to look different for me, but there is still very much still a plan in place.
“So, it’s not that I am checking out and saying ‘see you later’, it’s far from that.
“I’m just putting in a plan to honestly try to get me back to the front of the grid and win races and do all the stuff I know I can do.”
gonna be so weird to see him back in the redbull gear
— bryce m (@brycemaddison8) October 22, 2022
Could see Ricciardo doing well in testing and RB decide to promote him to replace Perez, especially as Ricciardo’s batteries will be refreshed and Ricciardo was more competitive against Max than Perez is
— Charlie Mason Williams (@CharlieMasonWW) October 23, 2022
Kinda embarrassing only because he left the team on his own terms. Now is picking up crumbs.
— Luke Smith (3-3) VER 2X CHAMP🏆🏆 (@xLukeSmithx) October 23, 2022
i’d love to see him back at redbull
— Eryn Millan (@erynmill) October 22, 2022
The combination of Daniel Ricciardo and Red Bull really made me fall in love with F1 so many years ago. I was so sad when him and Red Bull parted ways, so if he can't drive next year, the best next thing (for me) is that he could be the reserve driver of Red Bull 🤩
— Nienke 🍂🏁 | Nicky 💙 (@avoidingtmrw) October 22, 2022
— Nandor The Relentless’ Cape (@Mind0fJo3l) October 22, 2022
Ricciardo to Redbull as a reserve oh my god
— Rachel Dwyer (@RachelDw96) October 22, 2022
Daniel Ricciardo well back in qualifying at US Grand Prix
Ricciardo endured another disappointing day for McLaren on Saturday, posting the 17th-fastest time in qualifying and failing to advance past Q1.
Ferrari's Carlos Sainz will start on pole position after season champion Max Verstappen finished third in a qualifying session that began shortly after his Red Bull team learned that founder and owner Dietrich Mateschitz had died.
Ferrari's Charles Leclerc qualified second, but must take a 10-place grid penalty for using new engine parts.
Verstappen is chasing a single-season record-tying 13th victory. He clinched his second-consecutive world championship at the previous race in Japan.
Verstappen and his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez had to drive less than an hour after the team was gathered together to be told Mateschitz had died at age 78.
"What he has done for me, my career so far, my life," said Verstappen, who joined F1 as a 17-year-old with Red Bull's junior team, then named Toro Rosso.
"It's a very tough day ... We tried to give it everything but unfortunately we missed out. But there's a race tomorrow and we'll try and make (him) proud."
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