Formula 1 news: Daniel Ricciardo on why he picked Red Bull, 2023 grid, Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez

Daniel Ricciardo has opened up on his decision to return to his old stomping ground at Red Bull for the 2023 season.

The Aussie superstar won’t be on the grid after his contract with McLaren was cut short by a year.

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McLaren let the 33-year-old go after signing Australian youngster Oscar Piastri to pair him up with Lando Norris.

Ricciardo was linked with a return to Alpine, formerly Renault, before the team ultimately signed Pierre Gasly to partner with Esteban Ocon.

A seat was said to be available with Haas, however the West Australian said he needed a year away from the grid to ensure he didn’t lose his love for the sport.

His return to the Red Bull garage will see him become the teams third driver where he’ll take on simulator and marketing duties.

The role will not require him to be a part of the team for the entirety of the 2023 season, allowing him to have time away from the sport and to himself.

He said the decision to return allows him to remain in the forefront of other teams’ minds as he hunts a 2024 grid spot.

“It’s nice to be in a winning environment, I think you learn a lot,” Ricciardo said to Speedcafe.

“If there’s not a seat with them, potentially they can help find a seat elsewhere.

“Also, being linked with a top team, a bit like [Nyck] de Vries was with Mercedes, you’re living with a top team – I feel like you’re more, I don’t want to use the word relevance, but you’re kind of more recognised and less forgotten.

“So there’s a lot of things.”

Ricciardo broke down his role within the Red Bull team, saying that while he’ll still be around it also gives him freedom away from the sport.

“I’m not going to do every race,” Ricciardo said.

“I still want that time to myself, but I will still be at some races, do some sim, listen and try to lend my experience and stuff and if I can help, sure, that’s a great thing.

“If I can do any form of testing, that would be nice just to stay also car-fit.

“So it’s kind of just being in enough where I’m still keeping up to date, so to speak, but then this is enough removed where it does give me that break.

“And I’m sure when I’m at the races watching I’ll be envious I’m not on the track, so these things will probably feed me in a good way.”

Piastri showed why McLaren took the chance on the rising star on his first official day as a Formula 1 driver as he upstaged Norris.

The 21-year-old was impressive in his time on circuit during the official post-season testing event in Abu Dhabi and bested his teammate — something Daniel Ricciardo was unable to do in 2022 — by more than 0.5 seconds.

Both McLaren drivers completed more than 100 laps.

It was an even better day for Aussie teenager Jack Doohan, who went quicker than both the McLaren drivers, finishing 11th fastest overall as Alpine’s reserve driver for 2023.

“A good first day with McLaren, I think we learnt a lot,” Piastri said.

“It was great to finally join up with the team, and thanks to them for a good day of running.

“We did a lot of laps and experimented a lot, which is exactly what today is all about.

“I’ve got a good idea where to improve for next year, I really enjoyed it, it’s nice to finally be back out on track finally and experience the 2022 cars.

“I’m looking forward to next year now. I’ll be in the factory next week to meet the whole team, after that I’ll take a short break before getting back to work with McLaren to prepare for next year.”

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