The Honey Badger has returned home.
Red Bull have announced the return of eight-time Grand Prix winner, Daniel Ricciardo as their third driver for 2023.
The Australian known as the Honey Badger started with the team in 2014 before leaving in 2018.
Daniel Ricciardo said: “The smile says it all, I’m truly excited to be coming back home to Oracle Red Bull Racing as their Third Driver in 2023.
“I already have so many fond memories of my time here, but the welcome from Christian, Dr Marko and the entire team is something I’m sincerely appreciative of.
“For me personally, the ability to contribute to and be surrounded by the best team in F1 is hugely appealing, whilst also giving me some time to recharge and refocus.
“I can’t wait to be with the team and support with simulator work, testing sessions and commercial activities. Let’s go.”
What does a third driver do?
The third driver has plenty of work to do on and off the track.
Not only does Ricciardo bring a wealth of experience that is helpful when developing the car with testing and simulation work but also if he is needed on race days.
Think of Nico Hülkenberg for Aston Martin at the beginning of the season or Nyck de Vries for Williams.
This is not all Ricciardo will be doing as he will be involved in the teams commercial activity.
Look at the work David Coulthard and Mark Webber do for their former team.
Oracle Red Bull Racing Team Principal and CEO Christian Horner said: “It is great to bring Daniel back into the Red Bull family. He has enormous talent and such a brilliant character; I know the whole factory is excited to be welcoming him home.
“In his role as test and third driver, Daniel will give us the chance to diversify, assisting in the development of the car, aiding the Team with his experience and knowledge of what it takes to succeed in F1.
“We’re very pleased to be working with Daniel again and look forward to everything he will bring to the Team in 2023.”
Why are Red Bull excited to have Ricciardo returning for 2023?
With 29 trophies to his name, many coming during the dominant Mercedes period, there were plenty of high points in his first stint with Red Bull for a talented driver.
He immediately made an impact in his first year in 2014, finishing 3rd in the Championship and securing wins in Montreal and Budapest.
Then onto 2015 and an epic Monaco performance and the fastest lap of the race, taking his maiden pole at the same race a year later.
In 2016, he was also the only driver to finish all 21 races.
2017 saw Daniel win a wild Azerbaijan Grand Prix and take eight other podiums, before rolling into the 2018 season with a bang.
He won two of the first six races that year, storming through the field in China and then who can forget that win in Monaco or perhaps just as iconic, that dive into the swimming pool?
After leaving the Red Bull at the end of 2018, he has spent 2 years at Renault before they changed to Alpine.
Then he joined McLaren, where he won his eighth Grand Prix in 2021, before struggling in the midfield.