Wolff ‘likes’ Ricciardo but is non-committal on Mercedes reserve role

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Toto Wolff has no doubt that Daniel Ricciardo’s qualities would benefit Mercedes, but the Austrian remains tight-lipped on the Aussie’s chances of securing a reserve driver role with Mercedes in 2023.

Ricciardo has accepted that after parting ways with McLaren after Abu Dhabi he won’t be on the grid next season.

But the 33-year-old nevertheless wants to remain involved in F1 in some capacity next year before hopefully jumping back into the fray and starting afresh in 2024.

A reserve driver role with a top team would interest the eight-time Grand Prix winner, and Mercedes needs a back-up following the departures of its current reserves Nyck de Vries and Stoffel Vandoorne.

So, could the two parties come together to satisfy their respective needs? Not so fast, says Wolff.

"I think he is speaking to a few teams about a potential role, and I think Red Bull [is one of them]," Wolff told the media in Mexico City last weekend.

"For us, we very much like him and he is a great character, but we are not in a position yet to decide who is going to be reserve and third driver.

"He's been around for a long time, and he knows these cars inside out, so that can be really advantageous.

"But I don't want to put any rumours out there because we haven't decided."

Last weekend, George Russell was asked about his thoughts on potentially working alongside Ricciardo at Mercedes.

“Yeah, it would be interesting,” the Briton told Sky F1. “I’d like to see that. We have to see what he wants to do in the future.”

Recently, both Wolff and Ricciardo were seen in the paddock sporting Daniel Ricciardo’s merchandise. But the Austrian denied it was a tell-tale sign of the Aussie’s future affiliation with Mercedes.

“I am promoting his merch! Honestly I just like it,” Wolff laughed. “They took a photo of me and posted it online.”

“I gave George a sweater,” Ricciardo added. “Toto messaged saying he really liked it, so I gave him one too!”

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