Christian Horner lifts lid on Daniel Ricciardo return with three teams in cost cap trouble – F1 news round-up

Sam Cooper
Christian Horner, Red Bull, speaks to reporters. Mexico, October 2022.

Red Bull principal Christian Horner speaks to the media in a press conference. Mexico, October 2022.

With a few days to go until the start of the Hungarian Grand Prix, all eyes continued to be on Daniel Ricciardo’s return but there were reports of some concerning news for some teams.

Christian Horner kicked the day off with an appearance on the F1 Nation where he discussed the behind-the-scenes moves of Ricciardo’s return to racing with AlphaTauri.

But perhaps the more consequential news came later in the day with a report that a number of teams could be set to break the cost cap limit.

Nyck de Vries a “stopgap” says Christian Horner

As one door closes, another opens and while the F1 community was happy to get Ricciardo back in a seat, it came at the cost of Nyck de Vries whose poor form finally caught up with him.

Helmut Marko revealed a few weeks back that Horner was never a big fan of De Vries and the Red Bull boss confirmed as much in his interview with F1 Nation, describing the Dutch driver as a “stopgap.”

“Look, Nyck is a very capable driver and a Formula E Champion and Formula 2 Champion. He’s obviously got a lot of experience,” Horner began.

“He’s not a young driver as such, from an age perspective. And I just didn’t see how it fitted within the junior programme. It was always a stopgap.”

Read more: Christian Horner confirms and explains reservations over ‘stopgap’ Nyck de Vries

Unpicking Daniel Ricciardo’s “bad habits”

The Australian may be back in a seat now but Red Bull may have thought that was unlikely to happen following Ricciardo’s first sim run back in Milton Keynes.

Horner detailed his early conversations with Ricciardo last year and how a “disaster” of a simulation made him realise how big the task on hand was.

“It all kicked off in a hotel room in Mexico last year, I had a meeting with Daniel and it was clear that his options for this year were going to be a bit limited and he just looked pretty broken,” Horner said.

“I said to him why didn’t he come back to Red Bull for 12 months, out of the car predominantly, help us with simulation work, and a bit of tyre testing, and just come back into the fold and refind his passion for the sport.

“Because it was clear that he wasn’t enjoying things. To be honest with you, I didn’t really recognise the Daniel over the last couple of years that we’d grown so used to, he’d grown up with us – so that’s where it started.

“He came in and drove the simulator a couple of days after Abu Dhabi, and it was a complete disaster. He’d picked up every bad habit imaginable. He was working with his previous engineer and gradually we unpicked it.

“With each session, he just got better and better, you could see his confidence growing to the point that he was absolutely on the pace with the race drivers.

“The plan was always to put him in for that Silverstone test. We kept him very busy on off-track activities, marketing-wise, and the test was extremely impressive.”

Read more: How Daniel Ricciardo went from ‘disastrous’ sim run to an F1 return in 11 laps

Guenther Steiner sits down with

Over the course of the British Grand Prix weekend, sat down with Haas team principal and Drive to Survive star Guenther Steiner to discuss a wide range of topics.

Here’s just one of the questions we put to him:

PF1: There was plenty of team boss musical chairs coming into 2023. Would that be something that you’d get involved in, or are you Haas to the end? Is this your passion project?

GS: “I think it has to be my passion project. I started this team, I went out and found an investor. If I leave… I never wanted another job, I would have had other jobs before, I didn’t want them.

“This was one thing I wanted to do. And it’s pretty cool to set up an F1 team in your lifetime. There are not many people doing that and, therefore, I feel committed to the people. We have got quite a few people here, who are still here from day one. I don’t get attracted by the neighbour’s greener grass. With Gene Haas, I know I have a very good boss, I’ve got a good relationship with him.

“He’s tough with me, but I’m tough with other people. So, if I do a bad job, I’m not afraid that he tells me. Not that he needs to tell me but, if he has a different opinion on it, I’m OK with it. I’m not getting upset about it.”

Read more: Exclusive Q&A with Guenther Steiner – Preparing for Haas handover, Gene Haas, and being a rockstar

Three teams suspected of cost cap breach

With Formula 1 heading to the midway point of the 2023 season, we are approaching the time of year when the FIA hands out certificates of compliance in regards to the 2022 cost cap.

There were two notable teams to not receive one last year with Red Bull being the biggest offenders but the Italian edition of claims that a trio of teams will miss out this year.

What is more worrying for those teams potentially in breach is that the leniency shown to Aston Martin and Red Bull last year was due to the cost caps being a new regulation, limiting punishments to financial and developmental.

F1 president Stefano Domenicali has insisted that any further breach will be met with a sporting penalty.

Read more: F1 rumours: Fresh controversy looms as three teams set to breach cost cap

Andretti causing friction between the FIA and F1

Speaking of the sport’s senior figures and deadlines, another report suggested that potential new teams could hear any minute whether their Expression of Interest application has received the all clear from the FIA.

But that is just one step of the process with the new entrants then having to convince FOM.

It is an issue that appears set to cause more friction between the sport’s two most powerful parties with Domenicali recently stating he is “not changing my mind.”

“It’s not the money, as we have said, and I don’t want to anticipate anything because there is a process and I think that I have respect for the fact the FIA launched their process, and very soon we will arrive at the conclusion,” he said.

“As we always said, we need to make sure that the decision is right for the business. And this is what I think is the duty of the FIA and us together, that has to be taken. So that is another decision that will be taken in the next couple of months.”

Read more: Andretti bid at centre of brewing Formula 1 versus FIA president power struggle – report