Revealed: The Christian Horner-Helmut Marko phone call which sparked Daniel Ricciardo return

Jamie Woodhouse
Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko speaking with Christian Horner in the garage.

Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko speaking with Christian Horner.

A report has emerged detailing how the Daniel Ricciardo Silverstone tyre test so rapidly turned into an immediate return to the grid with AlphaTauri to replace Nyck de Vries.

Having been hard at work behind the scenes with Red Bull following his return to the team for F1 2023, Ricciardo was given his first outing in the real-life RB19, which has won all 10 grands prix so far, on Tuesday at Silverstone as part of Pirelli tyre testing duties.

Later that day though it was announced that Ricciardo would be back on the grid for the 2023 Hungarian Grand Prix with Red Bull’s sister team AlphaTauri, taking the place of De Vries who had struggled in his rookie campaign.

Red Bull forced into quick announcement on Daniel Ricciardo return

And according to a report from ESPN, their sources have detailed how this chain of events moved so quickly, with Red Bull principal Christian Horner having called the team’s advisor Helmut Marko to inform him of Ricciardo’s impressive pace being the first domino to fall.

‘Sources have told ESPN that Horner called Marko an hour or so into it just to tell him just how impressive the pace was,’ their report states.

‘Marko called back shortly afterwards to tell Horner he had just fired De Vries.

‘After the Marko call, De Vries’ manager tipped off several Dutch journalists, which is how the story broke around midday on Tuesday.’

The report also claims that Red Bull had not intended on announcing Ricciardo’s comeback anywhere near as soon as they did, but had been left with no choice when De Vries’ manager had landed that information with the Dutch press.

Instead, it is claimed Red Bull had planned on waiting until later in the week to announce that Ricciardo would replace De Vries. recommends

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Daniel Ricciardo front-row time claim backed up

The Aussie clearly made a huge impression on the Red Bull bosses with his performance in the test, and on Tuesday F1 reporter Lawrence Barretto said that as per his sources, Ricciardo’s fastest time would have been good enough for the front row of the British Grand Prix.

For comparison, Red Bull’s reigning World Champion and current Championship leader Max Verstappen clocked a 1:26.720 to claim pole for the British GP, with McLaren’s Lando Norris setting a time 0.241 seconds slower to secure his spot on the front row.

And this claim that Ricciardo delivered a lap time that would have put him on the front row is validated by ESPN who report the same information.

It must be noted though that many other factors were at play, with Ricciardo testing Pirelli’s 2024 prototypes and potentially having softer compounds available, compared to the current C1, C2 and C3 compounds used at the British GP, among the potential influencers behind his pace.

Factors like fuel levels and the amount of grip, considering the Formula 1 cars had rubbered the track in across their race weekend, also must be taken into account.

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