Ricciardo will return to Milton Keynes as the team’s third driver next season after he was paid out from McLaren with one year remaining on his contract to make way for fellow Australian Oscar Piastri
In his role, Ricciardo will help the constructor with testing and simulator work, as well as commercial activity and driver development.
READ MORE: Sixers break losing streak in incredible finish
READ MORE: Why baseball star walked away from $100m
READ MORE: Olympic champ stripped of medal for doping
While the responsibilities of a third driver and a reserve driver are often synonymous, New Zealand racer Liam Lawson will come on as the team’s official reserve driver.
Lawson’s formal reserve driver role means he is first choice to replace Verstappen or Perez during a race weekend if either is unfit to compete.
However, Lawson’s Japanese Super Formula commitments means he will be unable to attend every Grand Prix on the 2023 calendar, leaving Ricciardo to pick up the slack.
“Daniel will be attending some races where obviously he’ll be our reserve driver for those events,” Horner told Speedcafe.
“He’ll probably do a bit of tyre testing for us to help with the Pirelli program that gets distributed around the teams. He’ll be doing some work in the simulator.
“He’ll be doing all of those activities and then of course with the commercial demands that we have from the myriad of sponsors and partners that we have – particularly with the much bigger presence in the US where Daniel is now predominantly based with three grand prix there next year – he’s going to have a busy agenda for the season ahead.”
Horner said Ricciardo had “fallen out of love” with the sport after a challenging season but hoped the change of scenery would rekindle his hunger for racing.
He also reinforced Ricciardo’s contract would not include a provision that could see the West Australian recoup a race seat anytime soon.
”We were surprised to see Daniel be out on the open market,” he said.
“So for us – having grown up with Red Bull, having nurtured him since being a junior – it made sense for us to bring him back into the fold.
“I think that Daniel had fallen out of love a little bit with Formula 1. He’s had a couple of really tough seasons, particularly this year.
“For him to play a supporting role to the race drivers as our third driver, both back here at the factory and at events with all the commercial partners we have – as one of the most recognisable faces currently in and around Formula 1 – for us, it made a lot of sense.
“Hopefully in that process, Daniel will rediscover his passion for Formula 1. But we certainly have no plans to utilise him other in that third driver role to combine with the commercial activities that he’ll be performing.”
Ricciardo could be in line for his first formal assignment with Red Bull bringing its 2011 championship-winning RB7 to Mount Panorama as a part of a demonstration run at the Bathurst 12 Hour in February.
For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!