Ricciardo will be Red Bull’s third driver from next year after McLaren dropped him in favour of fellow Australian Oscar Piastri.

The eight-time F1 grand prix winner opted against signing for Haas or Williams, preferring a year out to regroup after two difficult seasons with McLaren.

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As part of his new role with Red Bull - the team he raced for between 2014 and 2018 - he will be their simulator driver, while also responsible for driving for the team in various marketing events.

Speaking on the In the Fast Lane podcast, Ricciardo revealed that he held talks with Mercedes but a return to Red Bull made “more and more sense” as time progressed.

“So there were talks with Mercedes as well, and I was also, let’s say, appreciative of their engagement as well, because there was certainly an appetite for that,” he said. “Let’s say it kind of stalled a little bit, and then the Red Bull stuff started to make more and more sense and had more and more legs, and then it naturally progressed as it did. 

“But yeah, I think there was a part of me as well where of course even when I was at Red Bull, Mercedes was always the team. Of course they were always dominating, it was a team I was looking at and whatever. I had some conversations with them back in the day, and to have a few more now was nice. 

“Again, it was nice just still to be valued by obviously some top teams after the couple of years I’ve had. There was something about, as I said, when the Red Bull thing became more serious, it made more and more sense. I also thought, look, I’ve obviously jumped around a bit in the last two years, and maybe a bit of familiarity would be good for me, to just go back and work with people I’ve worked with before and obviously a car — I appreciate the cars have changed now — that I gelled very well with. 

“Just kind of jumping back and thinking about going to the sim work and doing all that, it just felt like, all right, this is probably the environment that will just settle me in best and make me figure out what’s the next step beyond this and what I really want after 2023.”

With Ricciardo joining Red Bull, Mercedes are in need of a third driver.

Mick Schumacher is in the frame after being dropped by Haas for next season.

Toto Wolff has already spoke admirably about Schumacher: "I make no secret of the fact that the Schumacher family belongs to Mercedes and that we appreciate Mick very much," he said earlier this month.