Daniel Ricciardo ready to jump in Red Bull when needed, confirms Christian Horner

Ricciardo tours the Australian outback in the RB7 (1:04)

Daniel Ricciardo drives the 2011 RB7 championship-winning car around the Australian outback. (1:04)

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Red Bull reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo is just "10 minutes away from being ready" for a return to a Formula One cockpit, says team boss Christian Horner.

Ricciardo completed a move back to Red Bull this past offseason -- albeit in a third driver capacity -- after former team McLaren opted to replace him with compatriot Oscar Piastri for 2023. This season is the first since 2010 that Ricciardo is not a permanent driver on the grid.

Speaking ahead of this year's Australian Grand Prix, Horner claimed Ricciardo would take little time in getting back up to speed, should he be called upon. The Red Bull boss also believes Ricciardo has rediscovered what's required in order to be a top tier F1 driver.

"He's in good shape. He's kept himself fit and well. He's training hard and he's ready to go, given the chance," said Horner. "I'd say he's about 10 minutes away from being ready.

"When you drive a car that has its limitations, you adapt to try and extract the maximum amount out of that car. It was clear that when he came back he'd picked up some habits that we didn't recognise as the Daniel that had left us.

"Having had time off over Christmas to reset, he's come back and hit the ground running. He likes the feel of the car in the virtual would which seems to correlate well with what we see in the actual world. We're certainly seeing him getting back to being far more reminiscent of the Daniel we knew."

Ricciardo's role for 2023 will include simulator work at the team's factory in the United Kingdom as well as the opportunity to drive the car at various tyre tests. He'll also be present at races throughout the season, with Melbourne being his first appearance.

Horner also praised Ricciardo for the way he's assimilated himself into the team he drove for between 2014 and 2018, winning seven races.

"It's great to have him back in blue and back in the team," said Horner. "It must be very tough for him not being a race driver this weekend, but he's throwing himself into it, sitting in on all the briefings. He's been working hard on the simulator as well, doing some race support and development work.

"Daniel's just a positive energy to have around and it's great to see him getting his mojo back and see that big smile on his face. He lights up a room when he walks in.

"Even though he's not driving, he's still probably the most popular driver here. Hopefully he'll rediscover his love for the sport."

Ricciardo told a small group of reporters in Melbourne on Thursday that "signs are pointing towards getting back on the grid." It's unclear where he would find a seat, given his ongoing desire to join a competitive team.

As things stand, Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari and Aston Martin are likely to keep their driving pairings unchanged into 2024.