Daniel Ricciardo will be Red Bull’s reserve driver next season.
The Australian F1 star, who was dropped by McLaren in favour of Aussie young gun Oscar Piastri for 2023, will rejoin his old team as their back-up.
There had been suggestions that Ricciardo, 33, could have been onto his way to Mercedes for a similar role, playing third fiddle to Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.
But Red Bull chief Helmut Marko confirmed to Sky Sports that Ricciardo would be re-joining the team as support to drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.
“Ricciardo will be our third driver,” Marko said after first practice at this year’s season finale in Abu Dhabi.
“We have so many sponsors, we have to do show runs and the like, so of course he’s one of the most high-profile and best-suited.”
Perez’s contract ends at the end of 2023, leaving the tantalising possibility of Ricciardo bagging a race seat at the new constructors world champions for 2024.
His role as reserve driver will see him help with testing the car, as well as filling in if world champion Verstappen or Perez have to miss a race.
He will also serve as back-up at Red Bull’s sister team. Alpha Tauri.
Ricciardo’s time at McLaren was cut short after an underwhelming season, particularly when compared to his younger team mate Lando Norris.
The 33-year-old Aussie won the Italian Grand Prix for McLaren in 2021 but his performance has dropped off since then.
He previously won seven races for Red Bull, finishing third in the 2014 and 2016 seasons.
But he left the team at the end of 2018 to join Renault after reportedly growing frustrated at becoming Verstappen’s number two.