Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has backtracked on claims that Daniel Ricciardo is set to return to the team as a reserve driver in 2023.
Ricciardo has lost his spot on the grid for next season after poor performances at McLaren, and could not find an alternative.
He has explored options at Mercedes and Red Bull for a reserve and third driver position, with the latter deemed the most likely destination, having raced there between 2014 and 2018.
On Friday in Abu Dhabi, Marko appeared to confirm on Sky Germany that the deal was done for Ricciardo to shadow Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, but now says this is not the case.
"I said if we take him as a third driver. The 'if' was lost," he explained to Motorsport Magazine.
"We are talking to him but nothing has been signed yet."
As for the race weekend in Abu Dhabi, Marko believes things will be a "bit closer in qualifying" but expects Red Bull to hold an advantage in the race, with Verstappen having topped the second practice session on Friday.
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