Ricciardo, who is injured and missing from this weekend’s F1 Qatar Grand Prix, will retain his AlphaTauri drive next season alongside Yuki Tsunoda, at the expense of his impressive deputy Liam Lawson.
Ricciardo was himself a mid-season replacement for the misfiring Nyck de Vries but his experience was the key trait that kept him ahead of Lawson in the pecking order.
“We had lots of discussions about the future of the team,” AlphaTauri CEO Peter Bayer said.
“Our shareholders said: ‘We want you to continue and educate young drivers, but we also want you to be successful’.
“Ultimately you can’t have both. You can’t have two ‘young drivers’ in the team.
“We were looking at: what do we need to deliver that purpose?
“We finally came to the conclusion that, first of all, we only have two seats. Daniel is offering a lot of expertise, especially when it comes down to the set-up of the car, which is something that we were struggling with.
“Yuki, over the years has grown, and is now coming to the pinnacle of his performance curve. And so we thought that those two make the right team.
“It’s also good to have somebody like Liam just behind them to keep the fire warm under their seats and to make sure that we progress as a team.”
Tsunoda finished 11th in the sprint race at the Qatar Grand Prix, but Lawson retired after just two corners after an error.
Ricciardo plans to return to racing in Austin later this month after a wrist injury.
“He was in the simulator on Monday,” Bayer revealed.
“He said that he could go almost until the end, but it was not 100 percent.
“And we didn’t want to rush things.”