Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has revealed the extent of talks with Daniel Ricciardo over a reserve driver role for the 2023 season.
The Australian is without a race seat for next term after agreeing to a mutual deal to part company with McLaren a year early following a period of largely disappointing results.
After the season finale in Abu Dhabi, Red Bull confirmed it had re-hired Ricciardo, who left the team in 2018, as its third driver in a role that will see him complete a number of promotional events while scaling back race weekend attendance.
It was known that Mercedes had been another option for the 33-year-old, and Wolff confirmed: “Yeah, there were discussions.
"He is a super guy. There is nothing to say. It’s a shame that he is not in a cockpit because Daniel Ricciardo needs to be in a race car.
“But it didn’t happen. Nobody understands why the years in McLaren didn’t work out like all the previous years did. I remember Daniel from the junior series and he was always there."
Ricciardo climbed the junior ranks with Red Bull and raced for both teams owned by the energy drinks giant during his time in F1, leading Wolff to conclude the feeling of 'coming home' was a deciding factor.
"Basically, we just needed time to figure out what we wanted to do and Red Bull was his home for a long time," added Wolff.
"He knows the people and he hopefully has a good deal there.”