Daniel Ricciardo makes F1 comeback after replacing De Vries

Daniel Ricciardo makes F1 comeback after replacing De Vries

Red Bull reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo will make an unexpected comeback to Formula 1 with AlphaTauri at the Hungarian Grand Prix next weekend after replacing Nyck de Vries.

Daniel Ricciardo will make his comeback to an F1 circuit at the Hungarian Grand Prix later this month after signing a short-term loan contract with AlphaTauri. He will take Nyck de Vries’ place for the remainder of the season.

Ricciardo left McLaren last year and joined his former team Red Bull as a reserve driver. Red Bull will now lend the Australian to its sister team AlphaTauri for the rest of the 2023 season.

This comes after De Vries, who has had a terrible season and is one of just two drivers on the grid without a single championship point being dismissed from AlphaTauri with immediate effect.

After de Vries’ rocky Formula 1 debut with AlphaTauri, the Dutchman’s fate was sealed. Helmut Marko, the boss of Red Bull motorsport, had clearly lost patience with his teammate Yuki Tsunoda due to his underwhelming results, notably at last weekend’s British Grand Prix.

Marko had also recently acknowledged that Christian Horner, the Red Bull team principal had expressed reservations regarding the signing of De Vries as Pierre Gasly’s replacement at AlphaTauri for 2023 adding that De Vries’ performances were proving him correct. This heightened speculation regarding De Vries’ position within the team.

Franz Tost, the head of the AlphaTauri team, had said earlier this month that de Vries would be given some time to get his act together and that Ricciardo would not be a possible replacement. However, Red Bull has now made the decision to bring in the eight-time Grand Prix winner.

“Scuderia AlphaTauri announces that Daniel Ricciardo will be joining the team on loan from Red Bull Racing for the remainder of the Formula 1 season, starting from the upcoming Hungarian Grand Prix,” the team said in a statement.

Ricciardo joined Red Bull once more as the team’s backup driver for 2023 and on Tuesday he took part in a Pirelli tyre test to get his first look at the all-powerful RB19 car.

“I’m very pleased to welcome Daniel back into the team,” said AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost. “There’s no doubt about his driving skills, and he already knows many of us, so his integration will be easy and straight forward.

“The team will also profit a lot from his experience, as he is an eight-time Formula 1 grand prix winner.

“I would like to thank Nyck for his valuable contribution during his time with Scuderia AlphaTauri and I wish him all the best for the future.”

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner highlighted that Ricciardo had not lost his form when he returned to the track on Tuesday with the team.

“It is great to see Daniel hasn’t lost any form while away from racing and that the strides he has been making in his sim sessions translate on track,” commented Horner.

“His times during the tyre test were extremely competitive. It was a very impressive drive and we are excited to see what the rest of the season brings for Daniel on loan at Scuderia AlphaTauri.”

Ricciardo said: “I am stoked to be back on track with the Red Bull family!”

Ricciardo made his Formula 1 debut with HRT in 2011 perfected his skills over the course of two seasons with AlphaTauri in its Toro Rosso form in 2012 and 2013. He was later promoted to Red Bull Racing and took home the victory in his first race with the team in Canada back 2014.

The first task for Ricciardo in Hungary will be to get ahead of Tsunoda. Anything more would be a bonus given the AT04’s lackluster season-long performance with AlphaTauri, which is undoubtedly not the greatest car for Ricciardo.

However, it’s a fresh start for the 34-year-old who must also pay attention to the wider picture and perform at his peak in order to secure an F1 drive for 2024.

His return to racing is expected to draw more attention to Perez, whose position at Red Bull has been in jeopardy following a difficult stretch following his victories in two of the season’s first four races in Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan.

The Mexican has only started in the top 10 at four races this season and has not advanced to Q3 since claiming the pole position for the Miami Grand Prix in early May.

Reigning World Champion Max Verstappen currently leads the Drivers’ standings by a staggering 99 points after the Dutch driver claimed his sixth straight victory in the British GP on Sunday.

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