With his Formula 1 return at the Hungarian Grand Prix looming, Ricciardo is preparing himself for a challenging drive in the struggling AlphaTauri car, which has held the team at the bottom of the constructors’ championship rankings.
However, the deeper motive behind Ricciardo’s decision to substitute for Nyck de Vries in AlphaTauri’s seat has been revealed by Red Bull team principal Horner. He expressed that Ricciardo aims to demonstrate his potential to be the superior option for a Red Bull seat in 2025, once Perez’s contract expires.
During the F1 Nation podcast, Horner dismissed suggestions that Ricciardo was being considered for a Red Bull slot in 2024, instead pointing out that all eyes were on the succeeding year.
Horner said, “For the moment, we only have plans till the season’s end, so there are no expectations beyond that. We’ve given him to AlphaTauri till the year-end. Our drivers for the next year will be Max [Verstappen] and Checo, but it’s beneficial to have talent on standby. I believe Daniel sees AlphaTauri as his best shot at bidding for the 2025 Red Bull seat.”
He further explained that the swift decision to give Ricciardo the AlphaTauri seat for the remainder of the season was made during last week’s Silverstone tyre test. This came after Ricciardo’s performance in the RB19 car, where he set a time that would’ve secured a front row slot at the British Grand Prix, taking fuel, tyre, and track conditions into account.
Horner also admired Ricciardo’s skill, saying, “The thing that impressed me the most was, despite not having driven this car and being out of the car for seven months, within his third or fourth lap, he was just a second behind our drivers’ timing.”
While acknowledging that the AlphaTauri car might pose certain difficulties for Ricciardo, Horner highlighted Ricciardo’s determination to face the challenge when a replacement for de Vries became essential.
Horner clarified, “We had to be sure first, did he want to do it? Taking on AlphaTauri is entirely different from driving a Red Bull car. It’ll indeed pose challenges, but we needed to know if he was ready to take on that battle. He seemed more than prepared to step back into that situation, rejoin the grid and be an F1 driver again.”
Furthermore, he argued that Ricciardo’s vast experience made him a better fit for the seat than a rookie like Liam Lawson, indicating that the decision also stems from de Vries’ inability to live up to expectations.
Horner elaborated, “It was obviously getting challenging for Nyck de Vries, as there were high expectations on him, being an experienced driver. There was a general feeling that Nyck wasn’t quite hitting the mark.”
When asked if Red Bull should have waited till after de Vries’ home race at Zandvoort, Horner responded, “That would have meant keeping him in the car till after the summer break. The situation was evident. If we were going to act, we might as well proceed and give Daniel 12 races to show what he’s capable of.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Daniel Ricciardo’s 2025 Red Bull Bid
What is Daniel Ricciardo’s aim in returning to Formula 1 with AlphaTauri?
Ricciardo aims to demonstrate his potential and earn a slot in Red Bull Racing for the 2025 season, once Perez’s contract concludes.
Why was Ricciardo chosen as a replacement for Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri?
Red Bull team principal, Horner, explained that Ricciardo’s extensive experience and willingness to face the challenge made him a superior choice over rookies. Additionally, it was felt that de Vries wasn’t meeting expectations.
Who will be the drivers for Red Bull Racing next year?
Was Ricciardo’s performance in the Silverstone tyre test influential in Red Bull’s decision?
Yes, Ricciardo’s performance in the Silverstone tyre test, where he set a time that would have put him on the front row at the British Grand Prix, was a key factor in Red Bull’s decision.
Did Ricciardo willingly take up the challenge of driving the AlphaTauri car?
Yes, according to Horner, Ricciardo showed no reluctance about taking on the challenge of driving the AlphaTauri car, even though it is very different from driving a Red Bull car.