Daniel Ricciardo has responded to reports linking him to a stunning return to Red Bull, saying there's nothing set in stone for him in regards to next year.
The Aussie driver said earlier this month that he'd be taking a break from F1 in 2023 after having his contract with McLaren terminated.
But Ted Kravitz of Sky Sports reported on Saturday at the US Grand Prix that Ricciardo has secured a spot as a reserve driver for next year.
“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.”
The only two teams that take reserve drivers with them to every grand prix are Mercedes and Red Bull.
But according to Kravitz, Ricciardo won't be joining Mercedes.
“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.”
Responding to the reports before the US Grand Prix on Sunday, Ricciardo denied he had put pen to paper on any deal.
"For now, everything is just rumours,” he told motorsport.com.
“Am I talking? Yes. But there’s no pen on paper or anything like that yet.”
Ricciardo reiterated his intentions to be back on the grid in 2024.
“I won’t completely disconnect from the sport, but obviously nothing’s guaranteed for ’24,” he said.
“Like, I don’t have a seat that I can say I’m definitely going to be driving.
“But I’ll still be around and trying to put work in to be back.”
Ricciardo drove for Red Bull from 2014 to 2018 before sensationally leaving the team to link up with Renault.
After two years at Renault he then joined McLaren, but has never managed to achieve the same results he experienced at Red Bull when he became one of the stars of F1.
Speaking last week, 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.”
Ricciardo 16th as Max Verstappen wins US Grand Prix
Meanwhile, Red Bull clinched the Formula One contructors' title after recently-crowned champion Max Verstappen won the US Grand Prix despite a disastrous pitstop during the race.
Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes was second and Charles Leclerc of Ferrari completed the podium in third.
Verstappen got the better start to overtake polesitter Carlos Sainz of Ferrari, who was spun around after a collision with the Mercedes of George Russell and was forced to retire.
Two safety car phases were not a problem for Verstappen, but a disastrous pitstop on lap 36 with a sticky front tyre saw the Dutchman drop to fifth.
He then put up a fight, first with Leclerc and later with Hamilton, to retake the lead with six laps remaining.
Verstappen's win was his 13th of the season, equalling the Formula One record.
Ricciardo was way back in 16th, continuing his disappointing time at McLaren.
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