Daniel Ricciardo reveals why he rejected Mercedes

Daniel Ricciardo has re-signed for Red Bull as a third driver following his release from McLaren.

McLaren announced their decision to part ways with Daniel Ricciardo earlier in the year, claiming that both parties had made significant efforts to make their partnership work, to no avail.

The Australian will be replaced by his younger countryman Oscar Piastri in 2023, while Ricciardo spends a year on the side lines working as a reserve driver for Red Bull as he plots his return to the grid in 2024.

It was rumoured to be a straight shootout between Red Bull and Mercedes for Ricciardo’s signature, as the Silver Arrows looked to replace the AlphaTauri bound Nyck de Vries.

The 33-year-old eventually chose to return back to Red Bull, where he enjoyed the most successful spell of his career, claiming that the familiarity was one of the reasons why he chose to turn down Toto Wolff and Mercedes.

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“I’ve obviously jumped around a bit in the last two years, and maybe a bit of familiarity would be good for me, to just go back and work with people I’ve worked with before and obviously a car – I appreciate the cars have changed now – that I gelled very well with,” said Ricciardo on the In the Fast Lane podcast.

“Just kind of jumping back and thinking about going to the sim work and doing all that, it just felt like this is probably the environment that will just settle me in best and make me figure out what’s the next step beyond this and what I really want after 2023.”

Ricciardo did have options to stay on the grid for 2023, with both Williams and Haas showing interest in the eight-time race winner, but it is believed that Ricciardo was not willing to join a team who did not match his race winning expectations.

A behind the scenes camera shot earlier this season saw Ricciardo speaking to Sergio Perez, telling the Mexican that his plan all along has been to spend a year out of the spotlight before returning to race in 2024 with a top team.

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Red Bull have expressed their delight at Ricciardo’s return to the Milton Keynes based outfit, with Christian Horner and Helmut Marko explaining how much commercial value the Australian brings to the team and how they plan to use him for show runs and sponsor events.

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Toto Wolff had previously confirmed his team’s interest in Ricciardo, but the 33-year-old has now explained that talks with the Silver Arrows stalled, resulting in his return to Red Bull.

“So there were talks with Mercedes as well, and I was also appreciative of their engagement as well, because there was certainly an appetite for that,” he said.

“It kind of stalled a bit, and then the Red Bull stuff started to make more and more sense and had more and more legs, and then it naturally progressed as it did.”