(Motorsport-Total.com) — Rumors are growing: Daniel Ricciardo is said to be on the cusp of returning to the Red Bull family. Not as a racing driver, but only as a test and reserve driver. But in the Austrian media in particular, reunification is already being talked about as if it had already been decided.
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The connection between Christian Horner and Daniel Ricciardo has not been completely cut off
Maybe she is. It’s very likely that Ricciardo and Helmut Marko will agree behind the scenes around 2023. But nothing has been signed, at least that’s what the Australians swear by.
“Nothing is sealed. I have nothing to hide, I am not contractually bound and can speak freely about everything. But nothing has been signed. As soon as it is done, I will say so. I am not holding back anything,” Ricciardo confirmed as of Saturday evening. Sao Paulo.
Marco expresses himself very similarly in Interview with “Sky”: “We speak,” he admits. But when asked that the talks are rumored to be too advanced, he simply replied, “We’re talking. I can only repeat myself.”
The perspective in Red Bull is better than that of Mercedes
Ricciardo recently had several options to become the third driver on the Formula 1 team. Mercedes is on the chase after losing Nick de Vries (to AlphaTauri) and Stoffel Vandoorne (to Aston Martin). But the Silver Arrows won’t have a free cockpit for the foreseeable future. George Russell is at the start of Mercedes’ timing and Lewis Hamilton wants to extend it.
Sergio Perez’s contract with Red Bull also runs until 2024, but with Pierre Gasly moving to Alpine, there is currently no candidate in the drivers’ team already established enough to be considered in the first team. If he convinces Ricardo in the simulator and in the tests, Perez can at least give him a realistic chance.
A replacement driver for McLaren via a loan agreement in 2023?
In addition, his McLaren team is not planning to sign replacement drivers, but is instead seeking loan agreements with other racing teams. The deal with Mercedes could go ahead and if Ricciardo, who knows McLaren well, is docked at Red Bull, a loan deal between McLaren and Red Bull is also a possibility.
There is no scorching ground between McLaren and Ricciardo, assures team boss Andreas Seidl and explains: “If the opportunity to work with Daniel ever arises, at least from our point of view there would be nothing against that. And I’m sure Daniel sees it the same way.” In this regard, Seidl sees the rental arrangement as “definitely a possible scenario”.
Should Lando Norris or Oscar Piastre get injured, nothing better will happen to McLaren than reaching out to the man in Ricciardo who knows the team inside and out. Plus, Red Bull will pay for it – right? Seidl limits: “It doesn’t work that way. The costs are shared because they make sense to everyone involved.”
The return of the prodigal son
For Ricciardo, moving to Red Bull means returning his prodigal son to his old family. In the summer of 2018, his contract extension with Red Bull seemed almost to expire when he had the idea that switching to Renault for good money would be a good thing for his long trip to Los Angeles.
“I have no regrets,” he says now. “Of course you can say, ‘Oh, away from Red Bull, then two years from Renault and two years from McLaren. “I know what that sounds like and that smells like failure. But at the time I felt the need to try something new, to move on.”
“I haven’t won a world championship since I left Red Bull. In fact, I haven’t won anything. But I’ve learned a lot since then and I think it made me a better driver. I needed a change of scenery. Even if my results would have been better if I had stayed.”
Watch the highlights of Red Bull’s last season
“I recently had a look at the highlights of the 2018 season,” admits Ricciardo. “I retired eight or nine. It was a tough season, especially after two wins in the first six races. It was a horrible year. I was with a great team, but the energy inside me was lost. I remembered that feeling again.”
There is an old saying: Satan eats flies in times of trouble. If applied to Ricardo, it means: because he has no better view, he can return to his old family, to his old mentor Helmut Marko and to Christian Horner. He always protected Ricciardo in interviews, even during McLaren’s toughest times.
But Ricciardo knows: “There are absolutely no guarantees for 2024. But I think I can lead in a great team again. I think I can really thrive there again. And I have a strong feeling that everything has a purpose. Everything in life happens for a reason ” .
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