F1’s hibernation isn’t quite over just yet, but there were still plenty of F1 news headlines made on Tuesday.
Peter Bayer, now AlphaTauri CEO, has revealed how Daniel Ricciardo’s return to the F1 grid was initially held up by Red Bull itself as they wanted to keep the Australian as their reserve.
Between that, Eddie Jordan wanting Alex Albon to be given a second chance and a frank admission from Alain Prost, let’s crack on and look through Tuesday’s F1 news headlines…
Red Bull initially held up Daniel Ricciardo’s F1 return
Daniel Ricciardo may have secured a return to the F1 grid with AlphaTauri after signing on as Red Bull’s reserve for 2023, but the Australian’s replacing of Nyck de Vries was initially blocked by Red Bull as they wanted to keep him in his existing role.
Speaking in an interview with Motorsport-Magazin, AlphaTauri CEO Peter Bayer revealed how the discussion about Ricciardo had kicked off.
“Originally it was said: ‘No, Daniel is a reserve driver at Red Bull and it stays that way’,” Bayer told the German publication.
“And then over the course of a month, we actually kept asking how things were going.”
Bayer then went on to say that both Red Bull boss Christian Horner and advisor Helmut Marko played a part in bringing Ricciardo back to the F1 grid.
Bayer added: “At some point, Christian Horner came to us and said ‘We’re doing the test at Silverstone, maybe we’ll take a look at it’.
“Then Helmut said: ‘Yes, why not?’”
Should Alex Albon be given a second crack at Red Bull?
Eddie Jordan is eager to see how Alex Albon would fare if he was given another shot alongside Max Verstappen at Red Bull.
Albon struggled alongside the Dutch driver during 2020 but had some unlucky moments that cost him some potentially season-changing results.
With the British-Thai racer carving out a big reputation for himself at Williams, former F1 team boss Jordan reckons he could fare a lot better at Red Bull at the second time of asking.
“I have a real soft spot for Albon,” he said on the Formula For Success podcast. “I just think that given the right situations I think he could really, really be mustard.
“I would like to see at some stage that he be given the chance alongside Max [Verstappen], because I think he might be a big surprise.”
Is Audi eying up a dark horse candidate for 2026 seat?
With Audi’s arrival into Formula 1 two years away, there’s still no indications from the German manufacturer as to who might be on their shortlist as to their drivers in 2026.
While incumbents at Sauber/Stake Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu have both publicly said they’d like to be considered, other rumours have linked current Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz and Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg.
But another name has emerged, courtesy of F1 journalist Lawrence Baretto, who claims Alpine’s Esteban Ocon could be in Audi’s crosshairs.
“While Alpine may be interested in keeping Ocon for another season, sources say Sauber-run Stake have the Frenchman very high up on their list as they prepare the operation to become Audi in 2026,” Barretto claimed.
“He is one of a number of drivers CEO Andreas Seidl is believed to be assessing as he looks to morph the team first into a serial midfield contender and then an operation that can fight for podiums, wins and ultimately championships.”
Helmut Marko pressure led to ‘heated moments’ between Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat
As members of the Red Bull junior programme, Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat were frequently pitted against each other as rivals to make it through into F1.
With Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko applying the pressure on both, Kvyat has revealed how it led him and Sainz – who were quite friendly otherwise – to have some moments of tension due to the excessive pressure.
“We travelled a lot together, we had some contact on the track, and sometimes even our fathers had to intervene and say, ‘Hey, guys, calm down!’” Kvyat explained.
“Especially at the beginning it was tough and I got a call from Helmut. He was like, ‘You know what, if you don’t improve next race, I think we’re done here’
“During the GP3 season, Helmut told us, ‘OK, an F1 seat is on the table, so whoever does best will probably get it’, and that’s when it started to be very serious.”
Alain Prost denies Ayrton Senna veto contract clause
Alain Prost has revealed how he never asked Williams to insert a contract clause into his 1993 deal to make sure he couldn’t end up being teammate with Ayrton Senna again.
The pair – held up to this day as the epitome of warring teammates and rivals – both wanted to race at the dominant Williams for 1993 – with Prost getting the nod. While a seat remained vacant, it went to Damon Hill, and not Senna, and Prost has explained he had nothing to do with the clause being inserted into the contract he signed.
“The discussion was very clear and it said the only one I do not want as a teammate is Ayrton. You understand why,” he said.
“I even do not remember if it was not Frank [Williams] who proposed that because he knew that it wouldn’t be possible. I had no idea about my teammate, and I was sure that it would be Nigel [Mansell] at the time.
“I did not know that it would be Damon [Hill]. That was January or February. I had no problem with that. I could not understand, I couldn’t believe they would change two drivers together at the team.”