Daniel Ricciardo replaces Nyck de Vries in shock AlphaTauri switch

Thomas Maher
Daniel Ricciardo and Nyck de Vries, pictured at the British Grand Prix. Silverstone, July 2023. F1 News

Daniel Ricciardo and Nyck de Vries, pictured at the British Grand Prix. Silverstone, July 2023.

Daniel Ricciardo is an F1 driver once again, as Red Bull have sensationally swapped the struggling Nyck de Vries for the returning Australian racer at AlphaTauri.

After half a season of struggle at AlphaTauri, Red Bull have opted to drop Dutch driver Nyck de Vries from his seat at AlphaTauri, and turn to Daniel Ricciardo as his replacement.

The Australian drove for Red Bull between 2014 and 2018, having previously raced for Toro Rosso (now known as AlphaTauri), after rising through the junior categories with Red Bull backing. Ricciardo left Red Bull for stints at Renault and McLaren, but was bought out of his contract due to underperformance at Woking – Red Bull signing him as a third/reserve driver for 2023.

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Having been brought back into the fold at Red Bull, the team with whom he won seven of his eight Grand Prix victories, the Australian performed third driver duties for the team – including a Pirelli tyre test at Silverstone in the wake of the British Grand Prix.

While Christian Horner was adamant there were no plans to bring Ricciardo back into a Red Bull race seat, the Australian has been given a second chance in his F1 career as he’s been parachuted in to AlphaTauri on loan to replace De Vries for the second half of the year – the move will be made immediately, with Ricciardo returning for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The move is regarded as a ‘loan arrangement’ from Red Bull, with AlphaTauri getting the benefit of his services for the remainder of the year.

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“I’m very pleased to welcome Daniel back into the team,” said Franz Tost, Scuderia AlphaTauri Team Principal.

“There’s no doubt about his driving skill, and he already knows many of us, so his integration will be easy and straightforward.

“The team will also profit a lot from his experience, as he is an eight-time Formula 1 Grand Prix winner. I would like to thank Nyck for his valuable contribution during his time with Scuderia AlphaTauri, and I wish him all the best for the future.”

Red Bull Christian Horner said the Australian’s times during his Pirelli tyre test appearance played a role in him being offered as a loaner to the sister team.

“It is great to see Daniel hasn’t lost any form while away from racing and that the strides he has been making in his sim sessions translate on track,” Horner said.

“His times during the tyre test were extremely competitive. It was a very impressive drive and we are excited to see what the rest of the season brings for Daniel on loan at Scuderia AlphaTauri.”

A smiling Ricciardo, who had hinted at being ready mentally for a return to F1 after a few months out of racing, summed up his return: “I am stoked to be back on track with the Red Bull family!”

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