Will Daniel Ricciardo actually drive this season?

Daniel Ricciardo's contract with McLaren for 2023 was terminated, following poor performances.

Last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix had a familiar face in the paddock which the home fans loved to see, with eight-time race winner and fan favourite Daniel Ricciardo having been present.

Having missed the opening two rounds of the season, there was absolutely no way that Ricciardo was going to miss his home race at the Albert Park Circuit, even if he wasn’t driving.

Ricciardo was seen greeting fans on the Thursday before the third round of the 2023 F1 season, before finding himself a seat on Red Bull’s pitwall on Friday.

Throughout Saturday and Sunday, he was spotted in the Red Bull garage, watching on as former team-mate Max Verstappen claimed his second victory of the season.

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Seeing Ricciardo not on the grid at his home event was certainly odd, with Sky Sports F1 reporter Ted Kravitz having noted that the 33-year-old looked “sad”.

Ricciardo, of course, has returned to his former team for the 2023 season as a development driver, following the termination of his contract at McLaren.

Whilst a year out of the cockpit is far from ideal, Ricciardo stressed at the end of last season that it’s what he wanted; however, a return in 2024 certainly looks high up on the Honey Badger’s agenda.

Whether he can even find a seat for 2024 remains to be seen, given that only seats at lower-midfield teams will be available.

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Ricciardo’s main roles at Red Bull this season are to work in the simulator and complete marketing campaigns, with minimal driving time looking likely.

Even if Verstappen or Sergio Perez are unable to drive, Red Bull are more likely to turn to junior driver Liam Lawson, than Ricciardo.

With that in mind, Ricciardo is currently 33/1 to actually compete in a session this season, whilst he’s 1/200 to not make a single appearance.

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The odds come from Best Sports Betting California, who clearly don’t believe that the Aussie will be back in an F1 cockpit anytime soon.

“It’s very unlikely that Daniel Ricciardo will take up a position on the grid for any race during this current F1 season. His departure from McLaren saw him return to Red Bull in an ambassador role,” said Alan Alger, Odds Maker at Best Sports Betting California ahead of the Australian GP.

“This weekend he’ll be watching from the sidelines as the F1 circus rolls back to his home race in Australia – a race he didn’t have much luck in during his career, failing to make the podium in 9 attempts.”