New AlphaTauri CEO, Peter Bayer, has revealed Red Bull initially denied the sister team’s attempts to orchestrate a move back onto the grid for Daniel Ricciardo.
Ricciardo returned to the Red Bull fold as a reserve driver ahead of the F1 2023 season, the move materialising after McLaren opted to end their contract with the Aussie a year earlier than planned after two tough campaigns together.
The eight-time F1 race winner’s spell on the sidelines lasted all of 10 races as he made his way back onto the grid to replace the axed Nyck de Vries, but the move wasn’t as straightforward as you would think.
Red Bull was firm on Daniel Ricciardo stance
Widely quoted as having told Motorsport-Magazin, Bayer dropped an intriguing nugget of information regarding Ricciardo, saying Red Bull initially wanted to keep him in the role he was brought in to do: reserve driver.
“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?’”
Daniel Ricciardo’s ‘dream’ scenario
Ricciardo has made no secret of the fact that his time with the sister team is all geared towards one thing: returning to the seat he left in 2018 and partnering Max Verstappen again.
His best chance of making that dream become a reality will be through his performances this upcoming season with Sergio Perez out of contract at the end of 2024, but Ricciardo himself is not putting any particular timescale on it.
“I’m not even going to put a day, or date on it, or year, whatever,” he told the Beyond the Grid podcast.
“I think coming back into it and jumping back in with the Red Bull family, doing the test in July, all these things, working with Simon [Rennie] again, that’s really the dream.
“Honestly, to end my career as a Red Bull driver would be perfect. Not that I’m looking at the end, but if I go back there, then I’ll certainly make sure I finish there.”