More Daniel Ricciardo hype emerges as return to Red Bull seat teased

Thomas Maher
AlphaTauri's Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo has found life tough going since joining McLaren in 2021.

Daniel Ricciardo getting a second shot at an F1 career was a decision that “wasn’t taken lightly”, according to one respected F1 pundit.

The Australian driver’s F1 career looked over at the conclusion of 2022, as McLaren opted against keeping Daniel Ricciardo for the final year of his contract and, instead, bought him out in order to bring in the rookie Oscar Piastri.

With no seat for 2023, Ricciardo signed on as Red Bull’s reserve driver and, following a tyre test in which he impressed during the summer, was given a seat with AlphaTauri in place of the struggling Nyck de Vries.

Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull return ‘not beyond the realms of possibility’

Having completed just two races for AlphaTauri before injuring his metacarpal in a crash at Zandvoort, Ricciardo nevertheless impressed enough to secure a full-time return with the Italian squad for 2024 – Red Bull confirming him alongside Yuki Tsunoda for next season.

Mark Gallagher, a former Cosworth and Jordan management head, believes it was never really in doubt that the Australian would get an opportunity to return for Red Bull once he put pen to paper as a reserve.

“From my own point of view, I think there was never really any doubt that Daniel Ricciardo was gonna get the nod to continue,” he told the GPRacing podcast.

“The injury has been obviously less than ideal for Daniel, just the worst possible thing to have occurred when he gets a chance to get himself back into the car. Liam Lawson has made the most of the opportunity, even scoring points, it’s always a good thing for a young driver to do when they make their debut in Formula 1, particularly in a car that hasn’t been really showing particularly well.

“So, Daniel, from my perspective, is a shoo-in and always was because Helmut Marko and the Red Bull system had determined that they wanted to welcome him back. They wanted to see what they could get out of him and what they could extract from him and whether he could have a bounce back within F1, after what had been a very difficult time in his career.

“Those decisions weren’t taken lightly. So they weren’t going to put them in the car and then shuffle them off to the sidelines at the first opportunity, there was a lot of thought behind him coming back. He’s won a Grand Prix, and over 30 podium finishes, he’s still passionate about driving the car, and he’s doing a great job with the other work that Red Bull is giving him as a brand ambassador for the whole organisation.

“I would go as far as to say it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that Daniel could still find himself back in the top team alongside Max in the future. That’s something that isn’t beyond the realms of possibility at all. recommends

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With Liam Lawson having thrown himself into contention thanks to an impressive run of races as Ricciardo’s substitute, Gallagher believes it’s only a matter of time until the Kiwi gets his proper opportunity as a full-time racer.

“So Daniel is in there firmly, Liam has proven himself in a very short period of time, he’s a guy who’s achieved a lot in the lower formula, in karting and Formula Ford, and then worked his way up,” he said.

“He’s lying second in the Super Formula championship in Japan at the moment. So he’s a very capable guy. He’s proven himself, he’s got time on his side. And the fact that he’s managed to get himself into a Formula 1 car at this stage, I think can only stand him in good stead for the future.

“Opportunities are going to open up in the next couple of years and I think Liam will be able to make the most of those when they arise.”

Mark Gallagher: Changes at Red Bull won’t be surprising

With Sergio Perez fighting for his Red Bull career as his contract ends at the conclusion of 2024, having had his erratic form called out by team management, Gallagher suspects changes could be made by this time next year.

“It’s gonna be an interesting 12 months ahead, I think, in Red Bull world,” he said.

“Perez has had a very difficult time this year. It’s not going to be surprising to see change afoot in the course of the next 12 months.

“If he doesn’t really find his feet again, and become a more consistent supporter to Max in the team.

“At times this year, it has been quite shocking to go on and see just how things are going for him. Whatever the reasons behind it, I listen to all the things that Sergio has to say about it, but the fact remains that the truth is in the data and the lap times and the performance and it’s just not quite there. Certainly, the consistency has been nowhere near where it needs to be.”

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