Daniel Ricciardo wants 'fairytale' F1 return to Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo has admitted for the first time during his sabbatical year that the dream end to his Formula One career would be a return to racing for the Red Bull team.

Ricciardo is currently Red Bull's third driver, serving as a back-up to Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, following a tough spell with McLaren.

The Australian, who won eight races for Red Bull between 2014 and 2018, wants to return to the F1 grid next year with a competitive team.

A route back to Red Bull looks unlikely currently, with Perez under contract until the end of 2024.

Ricciardo suggested he's considering how else he might get back into the team, which uses junior outfit AlphaTauri to run other drivers it has under contract.

"This for me would be like the fairytale. Honestly, the fairytale ending [would be] to finish my career here if I could have it all my own way." Ricciardo told ESPN about racing back at Red Bull in future.

"But we'll see. I'll probably have to work my way up a little bit but it's really nice to be back here."

ESPN understands Ricciardo is open to prospect of racing at AlphaTauri in 2024, as it would likely put him back on the radar for a step up to the senior team, but has no desire to do so this year.

Sources told ESPN last month that reports suggesting he would replace the out of form Nyck de Vries this season were wide of the mark, with Ricciardo enjoying his time away from the day to day of F1.

Ricciardo has impressed Red Bull with his simulator work since returning to the team, with team boss Christian Horner saying he felt the Australia got his "mojo" back after his struggles with McLaren.

During the The Grandstand with Daniel Ricciardo and Will Arnett on ESPN, a simulcast which ran during the Canadian Grand Prix, Ricciardo admitted he is confident he can rekindle his best form.

"I know I can come back as a more complete version of myself," Ricciardo said during a discussion on the broadcast about racing again in 2024.

Ricciardo will conduct his first test for Red Bull since returning at a Silverstone tyre test the week after the circuit hosts the British Grand Prix.

Staying within the Red Bull family might be Ricciardo's best option going forward. Lewis Hamilton is expected to sign a contract extension with Mercedes, while Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz are both under contract for next year.