Christian Horner has welcomed Daniel Ricciardo back to Red Bull, but warned he is set to sign a contract.
On Friday, Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko claimed that the 33-year-old Australian would be joining the team as a reserve driver for the 2023 season.
Ricciardo had been considering a sabbatical away from the sport after McLaren cancelled his contract a year early after two disappointing seasons with the team.
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This week speculation emerged linking him with a reserve role at Mercedes, but it seems he will be performing the task for the Austrian side, with whom he raced from 2014 to 2018.
After Marko leaked the team’s intention, Horner accepted that a deal looked likely, though stated it was not yet finalised.
The Red Bull team principal told the press: "We haven't signed anything yet, but Helmut, in his enthusiasm, has obviously announced it.
"So I guess that means Daniel will be joining us, unless, of course, he chooses not to sign it [the contract].
"Daniel's a big character. It's been disappointing to see his performances, he would have wanted a lot more out of the season.
"But he is still one of the biggest names, one of the biggest characters in Formula 1.
"He obviously has a history of being a Red Bull junior, and just with the demands that are on the race drivers these days, just from a marketing perspective alone, we are very active as a team, we do many, many show runs and events.
"So to have a driver of Daniel's profile and history with the team, within the group, is only an asset for us.
"It means he keeps in touch with Formula 1, we'll obviously be using him in the simulator as well, and he'll potentially be attending some events - if he does sign a contract.”
McLaren have elected to replace their outgoing Australian with his younger compatriot, Oscar Piastri. He left the Alpine team, who had intended him to replace Fernando Alonso, who departed the French setup in order to sign a deal at Aston Martin, after Sebastian Vettel announce his intention to retire from Formula One at the end of the current season.
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