Daniel Ricciardo has confirmed only an "unforeseen" complication will prevent him from rejoining Red Bull for 2023.
The Australian is now without a team after completing his last outing for McLaren at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
His desire to return to the sport in a competitive seat saw him consider reserve roles with both Mercedes and Red Bull, with Helmut Marko seeming to confirm a deal had been signed during the season-ending weekend.
But suggesting Marko had jumped the gun, team principal Christian Horner confirmed no deal had been signed with Ricciardo.
Also denying any deal had been confirmed, Ricciardo said: "It’s getting close.
"I can honestly say unless something unforeseen happens, that’s what’s going to happen next year.”
Ricciardo's role would not be that of a normal reserve driver, however, with the 33-year-old unwilling to travel to all 24 races.
“I can say whatever, even if it is with another team, the role I’ll have will not be 24 races," he added.
"If I was there for 24 races, then I’d probably be on the grid racing. I wanted to make that clear that I’ll still be involved but I need, personally, for me and my own head space, I need some time away from the travel and everything.”
Asked which races he would attend, Ricciardo said without hesitation: “Vegas, for sure. I’ll invite myself to Vegas. Even if the team doesn’t, I’ll be there. And yes, Australia.
“Some of them are no-brainers, for sure. I’ll still be around at a handful but it won’t be like a dozen – at the most, a dozen.”