Daniel Ricciardo, the Australian driver who has achieved remarkable success throughout his Formula One career, has made a surprising move by returning to the pinnacle of racing as part of the Alpha Tauri team.
This decision sees him replace Nyck de Vries at the second Red Bull team, effective for the remainder of this season.
After stepping away from racing as the third driver for Red Bull, Ricciardo will reignite his passion on the racetrack as he resumes competition in Formula One starting from the Hungarian Grand Prix on July 23rd.
The eight-time race winner expressed that his ideal career ending would be by rejoining the Red Bull team, which he left in 2018.
His presence in the AlphaTauri team provides him with an opportunity to establish a strong foothold in pursuing those ambitions in the future, while also putting additional pressure on Sergio Perez, who is currently experiencing a decline in performance in the main Red Bull team.
Reliable sources have revealed to ESPN that Ricciardo is willing to drive for Alpha Tauri for as long as necessary to prove that he has overcome the difficult period he faced with McLaren in 2021 and 2022.
The official announcement of this decision was made on Tuesday while Ricciardo was testing tires for the Red Bull team at Silverstone Circuit.
Red Bull stated that Ricciardo’s impressive performance during the test session was a crucial factor in making this transfer a reality.
Christian Horner, the team principal of Red Bull, expressed his excitement by saying, “It’s really pleasing to see that Daniel hasn’t lost his sharpness during his time away from racing, and the progress made through simulation sessions has been successfully translated to the track.”
The lap time he set during the tire test was highly competitive. It was an incredibly impressive performance, and we are very excited to see what he will achieve during his loan spell with Scuderia AlphaTauri.
Meanwhile, Nyck de Vries’ departure from the AlphaTauri team seemed inevitable, considering his disappointing performances and the repeated criticisms from Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko.
Marko himself had expressed doubts about De Vries being the right choice for inclusion in the company’s F1 program given his current understanding.
De Vries, who has won championships in Formula 2 and Formula E, secured a contract for this season due to an impressive debut in Formula One with the Williams team at the Italian Grand Prix last year when he replaced the sick Alex Albon and scored points.
However, he was unable to replicate that success in 2023. With this move, Ricciardo returns to the team he previously competed for in 2012 and 2013 when the team was known as Toro Rosso.
His impressive performances during that time earned him a promotion to the Red Bull main team in 2014, where he had a phenomenal season, securing three glorious Formula One victories.