Christian Horner confirmed what Helmut Marko said out of “enthusiasm” about Daniel Ricciardo joining Red Bull in 2023 in a reserve role.
Horner however insisted no papers have been signed yet with the Australian driver who is contesting his final full time Formula 1 weekend in Abu Dhabi for McLaren this weekend.
Asked about what Marko announced, Horner told F1’s official website: “We haven’t signed anything yet, but Helmut in his enthusiasm has obviously announced it!
“I guess that means that Daniel will be joining us, unless of course he chooses not to sign it!” the Briton conceded.
“Daniel’s a big character,” Horner went on. “It’s been disappointing to see his performance this year; I think he would have wanted a lot more out of the season. But he’s still one of the biggest names and characters in F1, and he obviously has a history of being a Red Bull junior.”
The Red Bull boss went on explaining the role Ricciardo will be fulfilling; he said: “Just with the demands that are on the race drivers these days, from the marketing perspective alone… we’re very active as a team, we do many, many show runs and events, and to have a driver of Daniel’s profile and history with the team, within the group, is only an asset for us.
“It means that he keeps in touch with F1 and we’ll obviously be using him on the simulator as well, and he’ll be attending potentially some events – of course, if he does sign the contract!
“But I’m sure that will all become clear in the event of him signing a contract,” Horner maintained.
No future full-time role for Ricciardo
However Ricciardo should not expect to be getting a full time racing seat with Red Bull any time soon, as the team is quite content with their current lineup.
Horner said: “Daniel’s contract is very specific, for a specific reason. We have a contract with Checo for the next two years.
“What the partnership of Max and Checo has produced has been phenomenal for us. The five one-two finishes so far this year, the constructors’ championship that we hadn’t won for eight years, is a phenomenal achievement, and obviously the combination of both drivers’ points contribution.
“The two drivers, they do have a good relationship, they’ve raced well for the team, and we’ve got no reason to see that being any different tomorrow, or for the duration of their contractual commitment to the team thereafter,” Horner concluded.