Red Bull’s motorsport director Helmut Marko let slip on Friday at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that Ricciardo will return to the team as a third driver next season after losing his McLaren seat to Oscar Piastri

"Ricciardo will be our third driver," Marko told Sky Germany. "We have so many sponsors, we have to do show runs, so of course he's one of the most high-profile and best-suited.”

Why was Daniel Ricciardo replaced by Oscar Piastri at McLaren for F1 2023?

Speaking during the team principals’ press conferences on Saturday, Horner stressed that Ricciardo’s deal has not yet been officially finalised. 

“We haven’t signed anything yet, but Helmut, in his enthusiasm, has obviously announced it,” said Horner. “So I guess that means Daniel will be joining us, unless, of course, he chooses not to sign.”

Horner went on to give some insight into the role Ricciardo is likely to carry out at Red Bull. 

"Daniel's a big character, it's been disappointing to see his performance this year but he's still one of the biggest names in Formula 1," he continued. 

"Just with the demands on race drivers these days, from a marketing perspective alone, we're an active team and do very many show runs and events, so to have a driver of Daniel's profile and history with the team is only an asset for us.

"It means he keeps in touch with Formula 1 and we'll obviously be using him on the simulator as well when he attends events.”

Ricciardo has his sights set on a competitive drive as he targets a full-time return to the F1 grid in 2024. 

Sergio Perez is contracted to Red Bull until the end of the 2024 season but there has been speculation about his future following a team orders row with teammate Max Verstappen at last weekend’s Sao Paulo Grand Prix. 

Asked if there was a chance of Ricciardo landing a race seat with Red Bull, Horner replied: "No, Daniel's contract is very specific. We have a contract with Checo [Perez] for the next two years. The partnership of Max and Checo has been phenomenal for us."