Ricciardo in talks with Mercedes
Daniel Ricciardo is in talks about a role as reserve driver, with Toto Wolff revealing interest from both Mercedes and Red Bull.
Ricciardo has committed to spending next year on the side-lines, focusing on returning to F1 in 2024 with the hopes of joining a top team. The Australian has assured that he will remain active in the F1 paddock next year, unwilling to spend next season competing in other racing categories outside of Formula 1.
Ricciardo is expected to become a reserve driver next year, allowing him to stay connected within the paddock and react to the changes in the driver market. There has been speculation linking Ricciardo to a Mercedes role in previous weeks, and new information suggests there is some truth to these reports.
Speaking to the media, Toto Wolff explained that Ricciardo is in talks with several teams about a reserve drive in 2023, "I think Daniel is speaking to a few teams about a potential role, also Red Bull."
"For us, we very much like him. He's a great character. But we are not in a position yet [to say] who is going to be our third driver."
Ricciardo's 8-race victories make him quite overqualified for the reserve driver position, so there is no doubt that teams across the grid will pursue his services. The 33-year-old has taken a tremendous risk by choosing to sit out the 2023 season, as there will be limited options on the grid as he plots his comeback.
There will be some openings for 2024 depending on performance of others; the question is whether these seats interest Ricciardo and if he can convince teams to offer him a contract.
While some will point to a possible Red Bull reserve role as the ultimate sign of his downfall, the next twelve months will ultimately prove how effective Ricciardo's strategy is.