Revealed: The role Daniel Ricciardo is playing as US automotive giant Ford prepare F1 comeback

Sam Cooper
Daniel Ricciardo back in Red Bull colours. New York. February 2023

Aussie driver Daniel Ricciardo back in Red Bull colours. New York. February 2023

In his role as Red Bull third driver, Daniel Ricciardo has also been helping future engine partner Ford get ready for their return to F1.

At the same time as unveiling the RB19, Red Bull confirmed long suspected rumours that they had partnered with Ford, transforming their power unit divided into Red Bull Ford Powertrains.

That partnership will not begin until 2026, at the same time as Formula 1 changes the power unit regulations, but suppliers have already been getting ready for the new era.

Adrian Newey revealed last month that the entire focus of the current Red Bull Powertrains division is focused on 2026 but it appears Ford also have one eye on their return.

Speaking to Speedcafe, Ford Performance Motorsports global director Mark Rushbrook said Ricciardo was working in a consultancy role to prepare them for life in F1.

“Daniel Ricciardo, he’s a fantastic personality, a lot a lot of energy,” Rushbrook said.

“He’s been really good for us, and helping us learn the sport or learn the sport as we return to it.

“But also interacting with our company with our management with our employees.

“We’ve had him for a day in Dearborn; the local team down there [in Australia] spent a lot of time with him for the Australian Grand Prix and we’ve spent more time with him since then and will continue to do so.

“He’s a fantastic person, individual and a great resource for us.”

While Ricciardo’s third driver role and its duties was initially vague, the Australian has gone on to do plenty of extra-curricular activities.

He was present at the RB19 launch in New York and also took part in a race watchalong of the Canadian Grand Prix for the ESPN TV channel. recommends

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But his heart remains in Formula 1 and he suggested that to retire at Red Bull would be a “fairytale ending”

“This for me would be like the fairytale,” Ricciardo told ESPN.

“Honestly, the fairytale ending [would be] to finish my career here if I could have it all my own way, but we’ll see.

“I’ll probably have to work my way up a little bit but it’s really nice to be back here.”