Daniel Ricciardo has denied that he has agreed a deal to return to Red Bull as a reserve driver for the 2023 Formula 1 season.
The Australian will make his final appearance for McLaren at this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after Oscar Piastri was signed as Lando Norris’s new team-mate for next year.
Having missed out on the remaining seats on the 2023 grid, Ricciardo has made no secret of his desire to remain in F1 in some capacity next year with the aim of making a full-time return in 2024.
The eight-time race winner has been heavily linked to reserve roles at Red Bull and Mercedes in recent weeks, though he is likely to face competition from Mick Schumacher – set to be imminently dropped by Haas to make way for Nico Hulkenberg – for the latter position.
A Red Bull deal would see Ricciardo make a sensational return to the team with whom he enjoyed the most productive years of his F1 career, winning seven grands prix between 2014 and 2018, having come through Red Bull’s junior scheme.
Following his first-lap retirement in Brazil last weekend in what is likely to be his penultimate F1 race for the foreseeable future, Ricciardo insisted a deal is not imminent.
Asked if his future was close to being decided, Ricciardo said as per GPFans: “Not really.
“There’s nothing yet close or confirmed or anything. I can make something up but nothing new to tell you.”
Pressed further on Red Bull being a “done deal”, he added: “It’s not, I can tell you now. Nothing is done.
“Look, as I have said before, I have nothing to hide.
“From even a contractual point of view in terms of, I guess I’m free to talk and whatever but there’s nothing done.
“If something was done, trust me, I’d be saying it. So there’s nothing holding that back.”
Marko confirmed in Brazil that discussions are taking place with Ricciardo, but insisted an agreement covers only a 2023 reserve role with the team, stopping short of directly assisting his campaign to return to racing in 2024.
Marko told ORF over the weekend: “We are in talks [with] Ricciardo. But that’s primarily the function of a reserve driver, simulator driver and various promotional appearances, without us making a fixed commitment regarding a [racing cockpit].”
Nevertheless, should the deal reach completion, a seat with Red Bull sister team AlphaTauri would likely emerge as an option for Ricciardo to make a potential comeback in 2024.
Ricciardo previously drove for the team, then under the banner of Toro Rosso, between 2012 and 2013.
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