Toto Wolff ‘hopes’ Daniel Ricciardo has a good Red Bull ‘deal’ after Mercedes snub

Daniel Ricciardo will serve as Red Bull’s third driver in 2023, following his departure from McLaren.

After two years at McLaren where all parties attempted to get the best out of Daniel Ricciardo, the team decided to make a change for 2023, bringing in 21-year-old Oscar Piastri to replace his older countryman.

The 33-year-old revealed that he was set to take a reserve driver role for 2023 rather than race for the likes of Williams or Haas, as he looks to get back to challenging at the front of the grid in the future.

Mercedes and Red Bull looked the two most likely destinations for Ricciardo, and the Silver Arrows looked to have beaten Red Bull to their former driver’s signature after team principal Toto Wolff was spotted wearing the Australian’s clothing range.

In the end, Ricciardo decided to return home to Red Bull, and Wolff has now revealed that his team did hold talks with the Australian before he re-joined his former team.

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“Yes, there were discussions,” admitted the Mercedes boss.

“He is a super guy. There is nothing to say. It’s a shame that he is not in a cockpit because Daniel Ricciardo needs to be in a race car.

“But it didn’t happen. Nobody understands why the years in McLaren didn’t work out like all the previous years did. I remember Daniel from the junior series and he was always there.”

Wolff has suggested that it was Mercedes who decided not to hire Ricciardo, rather than the Silver Arrows being rejected, but did admit that the opportunity for the Australian to return home may have been too good to turn down regardless.

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“Basically, we just needed time to figure out what we wanted to do and Red Bull was his home for a long time,” explained Wolff.

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“He knows the people and he hopefully has a good deal there.”

There appear to be no obvious doors open for Ricciardo to return to Formula 1 in 2024 however, as all Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari drivers are tied down to multi-year contracts.

The most rumoured option for Ricciardo has been a return to a race seat with Red Bull, as rising tensions between Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez could see the Mexican driver axed, should his performances not live up to the team’s expectations.