More than a third driver? Horner clarifies Ricciardo’s Red Bull role

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has confirmed that Daniel Ricciardo will act as the team’s official reserve driver at a number of races in F1 2023.
 - Free Practice 3, Christian Horner (GBR), Red Bull Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing
- Free Practice 3, Christian Horner (GBR), Red Bull Daniel Ricciardo (AUS…

Ricciardo rejoined Red Bull as their third driver for next year after McLaren dropped him in favour of fellow countryman Oscar Piastri.

It marks Ricciardo’s return to the team that saw him win seven grands prix and finish third in the drivers’ championship on two occasions.

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Initially, Ricciardo’s role was centred around simulator work and participating in various marketing events, but it seems it’s greater than that.

Speaking to SpeedCafe, Horner revealed that Ricciardo will be Red Bull’s reserve driver on weekends Liam Lawson - their main stand-in - is unable to be present due to his Super Formula commitments.

“Daniel will be attending some races where, obviously, he will be our reserve driver for those events,” Horner said.

“[Daniel will] probably do a bit of tyre testing for us, not with the Pirelli programme that gets distributed around the teams.

“He’ll be doing some work in the simulator. So he’ll be doing all 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’s gonna have a busy agenda for the season ahead.”

Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) McLaren at the drivers end of season group photograph. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 22, Abu
Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) McLaren at the drivers end of season group…

Horner is also hopeful that Ricciardo re-discovers his “passion” for F1.

“Well, we were surprised to see Daniel be out on the overall market,” he added. “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.

“[He’s a driver] with so much experience, at such a high profile, I think Daniel had fallen out of love a little bit with Formula 1. He’s had a couple of really tough seasons, particularly this year. For him to play a supporting role to the race drivers as our third driver, both here in the factory and at events with all commercial partners we have as one of the most recognisable faces currently in F1, for us – it made a lot of sense.

“Hopefully, in that 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, combined with the commercial activities that he’ll be performing.”

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