Daniel Ricciardo is in advanced talks to become Mercedes’ Formula 1 reserve driver in 2023, according to reports.
Ricciardo will leave McLaren at the end of the current campaign, finishing his deal with the Woking-based squad one year early.
The Australian has endured a difficult two seasons with McLaren, and says that he remains open to every scenario for 2023.
According to Canal+, one of those options could be a third driver role at Mercedes, working alongside Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.
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Ricciardo has been linked to the position for a number of weeks – however Hamilton believes that the eight-time grand prix winner is too talented to be kept on the F1 sidelines.
“I think he is far too talented and he deserves the right to be amongst us all racing,” Hamilton said at Monza last month.
“But of course, if he is a part of our team that would be great, but that role is not what really is best for him. If I was managing him, he’d be racing.”
Could Ricciardo land a role elsewhere?
Mercedes’ F1 facilities would be an attractive option for Ricciardo, giving him optimal equipment to work with and reinstate his confidence.
Ricciardo has stated that he won’t accept a 2023 F1 seat for the sake of being on the grid, asserting that any deal must sit right with him.
Alpine is believed to be on the verge of announcing Pierre Gasly for next year, leaving Haas and Williams as Ricciardo’s only other options.
However, both teams are far from competing at the front of the field, currently sitting eighth and tenth in the Constructors’ Championship respectively, meaning they may not be viable destinations.
A return to Red Bull as a reserve would have a small humiliation factor given that he won most of his F1 races for the Milton Keynes-based squad, and was once a formidable driver within the team.
With Hamilton’s contract expiring at the end of 2023, perhaps Ricciardo is looking to embed himself in the team in the hope that he could replace the seven-time World Champion in the near future.