Revealed: The behind-the-scenes Red Bull talks over Daniel Ricciardo’s return

Sam Cooper
Christian Horner and Daniel Ricciardo smiling. Silverstone, July 2023.

Christian Horner and Daniel Ricciardo smiling. Silverstone, July 2023.

Christian Horner has revealed the inner workings of how Daniel Ricciardo ended up in the AlphaTauri seat.

Ricciardo made the surprise return to a full-time race seat last weekend as he made his first appearance in a grand prix since departing McLaren at the end of 2022.

The move came after much speculation that Ricciardo was eyeing Sergio Perez’s Red Bull seat but also Nyck de Vries’ continued struggle in the AlphaTauri.

Nyck de Vries not ‘an appealing driver longer term’

While it looked like Ricciardo’s Silverstone test was going to be a first chance for the Red Bull bosses to evaluate him, what it turned out to be was the final seal of approval to make the switch – but Horner has revealed it was a bit more complicated than that.

First, he discussed De Vries’ departure and said the Dutchman was simply not a viable long-term option for Red Bull.

“These things just don’t happen with a phone call,” Horner told Sky Sports F1. “So you know, we talked about it a bit.

“It was obvious that Nyck was struggling, he wasn’t hitting the targets and you have to understand that those [AlphaTauri] drivers, we’re looking at with an eye for Red Bull Racing.

“It was clear that Nyck wasn’t going to be an appealing driver to us longer term.”

Nyck de Vries’ loss is Daniel Ricciardo’s gain

As one door shut, another opened as Ricciardo was given a chance to prove he is still the driver that racked up a number of wins for Red Bull and while it may have seemed a quick decision, Horner had mooted the idea even before the test. recommends

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“I discussed it with Daniel before the test and said ‘would you be up for getting in at AlphaTauri if the test goes well?

“He got in the car at Silverstone and he was up for that challenge. By the 11th lap he’d done a lap time that would have put him on the front row for the British Grand Prix.

“He made it clear to me that he was back and then of course you know there’s a discussion internally. AlphaTauri were very keen to take him obviously and there was discussion inside as well and then obviously, you know Helmut [Marko] was keen to make the phone call to Nyck.”

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