Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo at 2022 McLaren launch
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Daniel Ricciardo admitted he was looking forward to the future in a touching McLaren tribute as he closed in on a Red Bull deal. Riccardo thanked mechanics and team-mate Lando Norris in a message after crossing the line.
The Australian also revealed engineers left him a message on his dashboard after completing his final Grand Prix for the British squad. The 33-year-old stressed he was “looking forward to what comes next” as a deal to return to Red Bull as a reserve driver looks imminent.
Ricciardo said: “Big thanks to the whole team – they also put a nice message on the dash after the race, so that was cool. Appreciate that. We’ve had some high highs and some low lows but throughout it all I’ve enjoyed my time here racing alongside Lando and hopefully doing McLaren proud.
“Thank you to everyone who has supported me so far, the papaya army and everyone both trackside and back in Woking – I can’t thank you enough.
“It may have been my last race for McLaren but I’m looking forward to what comes next. I wish the team the very best for next season.” Red Bull boss Helmut Marko announced Ricciardo would be the team’s reserve driver next season over the Abu Dhabi weekend.
Christian Horner also seemed to confirm Ricciardo’s deal, claiming Marko had announced the move “in his enthusiasm”. The role is understood to cover a lot of hospitality and promotional events which will allow Ricciardo time away from race weekends.
When pushed on his 2023 destination, Ricciardo confirmed a return to Red Bull was on the cards but that he would not be at all 24 races next season.
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However, Horner and Ricciardo have both stressed the contract is yet to be formally agreed. Speaking to Sky Sports F1, Ricciardo explained: “That is the highly likely place for me, Red Bull.
“Obviously, I can’t say 100 per cent until things are signed off and whatever but that is certainly what is closest now. Yeah, I look forward to that.
“If it is though I’m not going to be at 24 races otherwise I may as well be on the grid somewhere. I made it clear I still need time off for myself to get away a bit. But I’ll be around to some extent and try and stay involved.”
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