Daniel Ricciardo to replace Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri from Hungary – report

Oliver Harden
Daniel Ricciardo smiles in the paddock. Canada June 2023.

Red Bull reserve Daniel Ricciardo smiles while walking through the paddock. Canada June 2023.

Red Bull reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo is set to make a sensational return to F1 with AlphaTauri at next weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, multiple reports have claimed.

The Australian is set to drive in place of Nyck de Vries, who has seemingly been dropped by the Red Bull junior team following a poor start to the season.

Ricciardo returned to Red Bull as the team’s reserve driver for 2023 and got his first taste of the all-conquering RB19 car by participating in a Pirelli tyre test on Tuesday.

Daniel Ricciardo back on the F1 grid from Hungary

Having lost his McLaren seat at the end of last season after two disappointing years, Ricciardo had repeatedly stressed his desire to return to the grid on a permanent basis and is set to drive alongside Yuki Tsunoda at the Hungaroring next weekend.

A report by Dutch publication De Telegraaf claims Red Bull have decided to part company with De Vries after a challenging start to the season left him without a point after the first 10 races of the season, with a best finish of 12th in May’s Monaco GP.

Speculation over his place within the team intensified after Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko recently admitted that Christian Horner, the Red Bull team principal, had voiced concerns over the signing of De Vries as Pierre Gasly’s replacement at AlphaTauri for 2023, adding that De Vries’ performances were proving him right.

Ricciardo was left without a seat for 2023 when McLaren opted to replace him with fellow Australian Oscar Piastri, with the eight-time race winner returning to Red Bull – the team who he represented between 2014 and 2018 – in a support role behind Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

His return to racing is likely to increase the scrutiny on Perez, whose place at Red Bull has come under threat after a difficult run since winning two of the opening four rounds of the season in Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan.

The Mexican has not reached Q3 since setting pole position for the Miami GP in early May – a run of five consecutive rounds – and has started inside the top 10 at just four races this season.

He currently sits second in the Drivers’ standings, but is a massive 99 points behind runaway leader Verstappen after the two-time World Champion took his sixth straight win in Sunday’s British GP.

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Perez has a contract in place with Red Bull until the end of the 2024 season, yet concerns over his form and his relationship with Verstappen, who he seemed to edge onto the grass at the start of the recent Austria sprint race, has raised doubts over his position in the team.

Speaking after Perez qualified a lowly 15th for the British GP, Marko stressed the importance of Perez getting his performances “under control” but admitted “there’s no one who could replace him”, with Horner telling media including PlanetF1.com at Silverstone that Red Bull had no plans to promote Ricciardo to a race seat.

Replacing De Vries at Hungary will give Ricciardo a maximum of 12 races until the end of the season to eliminate lingering doubts over his McLaren stint and state a case for an incredible Red Bull return in 2024.

PlanetF1.com has approached Red Bull for comment.

Read next: First look! Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull RB19 at Silverstone