Ricciardo Returns: The Honey Badger Replacing De Vries at AlphaTauri

Noah Strang
By:
Noah Strang
13/07/2023
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Daniel Ricciardo is back, taking over for Nyck De Vries at AlphaTauri

34-year-old Aussie Daniel Ricciardo is coming back to F1 racing, in place of struggling rookieNyck De Vries atAlphaTauri.

News Insights

  • Ricciardo is back in immediately at AlphaTauri.
  • De Vries is given the boot just 10 races into his maiden F1 season.
  • What can we expect for Ricciardo this season?
  • What is Ricciardo’s future on the grid beyond this season?

Red Bull has announced that Daniel Ricciardo is returning to F1 racing with an immediate move to AlphaTauri which is being described as a season long “loan”. He will take the seat of Nyck De Vries who has experienced a disappointing rookie season and is now left without an F1 seat. 

Ricciardo in, De Vries Out at AlphaTauri

On Wednesday morning the F1 world was hit with exciting news as Red Bull confirmed that Australian Daniel Ricciardo would be returning to the grid for the remainder of the season driving for AlphaTauri. The 34-year-old has spent the season thus far as Red Bull’s reserve driver following his departure from McLaren at the end of last season following two tumultuous years with the team. 

Always a fan favourite due to his outgoing personality and exuberance, having Ricciardo back in a race seat will no doubt provide entertainment and bring excitement to a season in which Max Verstappen has all but secured the World Drivers Championship already. 

The news and move came just hours after Ricciardo’s first time back in an F1 cockpit as he tyre tested the RB19 at Silverstone. In what appears to have been an audition of sorts, reports say that Ricciardo drove exceptionally.

Lawrence Barretto, a writer for the F1 website, stated: “sources say Ricciardo was impressive in today’s Pirelli tyre test with Red Bull … his best lap would have been good enough for the front row of the grid in Sunday’s British Grand Prix.”

We know that Ricciardo at least showed enough class to prove to the Red Bull and AlphaTauri decision makers that he deserved to be back racing in F1, at the expense of rookie Nyck De Vries. 

De Vries has struggled mightily thus far, failing to register a point and having been outqualified by teammate Yuki Tsunoda on all but two occasions. 

Late in June F1 pundit Simon Lazenby reported that Helmut Marko had given De Vries a four-race timeframe to improve his results. However, just two races after this, in which De Vries finished 17th in each, he has been given the boot. The rookie is now left without a seat and faces an uncertain future in F1.  

Expectations for the season and Ricciardo’s Future

Although it is exciting to have a driver the calibre of Ricciardo back on the grid, expectations for his season cannot be blown out of proportion. AlphaTauri sits at the bottom of the constructors’ championship with just two points to their name, both courtesy of Ricciardo’s new teammate Yuki Tsunoda. 

Ricciardo won’t be challenging for wins. Being realistic, Ricciardo should be expected to to scrap for points, outperform Tsunoda, and stay away from the very back of the grid.

Ricciardo is set to return immediately and make his race debut at the Hungarian Grand Prix on July 23rd, the next F1 race on the schedule. 

As for his future beyond this season, rumours have been swirling. Red Bull’s number two driver Sergio Perez has been seriously struggling as of late having failed to make Q3 for five straight races. In a car which is by far the quickest on the grid, he leads Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso by just 19 points in the standings whilst being 99 points behind Max Verstappen. 

Though he is under contract through the end of next season, the swift axing of De Vries shows Red Bull’s willingness to cut a cord whenever they feel the time is right. Should Ricciardo impress in the latter half of this season, the possibility of him reuniting with Red Bull in 2024 as Max Verstappen’s teammate is very much on the table. 

Daniel Ricciardo is back in the cockpit with AlphaTauri for the rest of the season in place of Nyck De Vries. Should he impress, a reunion with Red Bull and Max Verstappen at the expense of Sergio Perez in 2024 could very well be a possibility.