Daniel Ricciardo is back in F1 after replacing Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri ahead of this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix; watch all sessions of the Hungarian GP live on Sky Sports F1; Lights out Sunday at 2pm; F1 Juniors will be live on Sky Showcase and Sky Sports Mix
18:07 UK Tuesday 18 July 2023
Christian Horner has explained the reasons for Daniel Ricciardo’s return to F1 instead of Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri.
News broke two days after the British Grand Prix that Ricciardo would make a surprise mid-season return after missing the first 10 races of the 2023 season after losing his seat at McLaren.
The Australian was in the middle of a tire test at Silverstone when De Vries was told he would not drive for AlphaTauri from this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix. sky sports f1with coverage of Sky F1 Junior in heaven showcase and Sky Sports Mix.
“Nyck is a very capable driver, a Formula E champion, a Formula 2 champion, he obviously has a lot of experience, he’s not a young driver as such from an age perspective,” Horner said on the F1 Nation podcast. “And I just didn’t see how he fit into the junior program. It was almost a stopgap.”
“Everything happened a little faster than expected, considering that we had not completed the test. Helmut [Marko] he talked to Nyck and he was the one who had obviously recruited him. It was him who spoke to Nyck about lap 11 of the test, I think.”
He added: “Obviously it was becoming a difficult situation for Nyck de Vries,” Horner explained. “But there was a lot of expectation about him because, although he has no experience in Formula 1, obviously he is a very experienced driver.
“I think there was a general feeling that Nyck was missing the mark. And then the question was, what are the options if we were to change things?
“And from Red Bull Racing’s perspective, the most interesting option for me was to see how Daniel performs. So that was the decision that was made. It all happened quite quickly and here he is for the Hungarian Grand Prix.”
Ricciardo looking at the Red Bull 2025 seat
The consensus is that if Ricciardo passes Yuki Tsunoda in AlphaTauri in the second half of the season, he will put pressure on Sergio Perez for a seat at Red Bull.
Pérez has struggled recently, missing Q3 at the last five events and scoring just one podium finish in that same period. Meanwhile, his teammate Max Verstappen is riding a six-win race streak.
Horner confirmed that Pérez has a contract for next year and the plan is to retain the Mexican along with Verstappen at Red Bull.
“Right now something is in place [for Ricciardo] until the end of the season. There are no thoughts or expectations beyond that. Our drivers will be Max and Checo again next year,” said the Red Bull team principal.
“But it’s always good to have talent in reserve. Daniel sees AlphaTauri as a candidate for that Red Bull seat in 2025. That’s his goal and objective. By going to AlphaTauri, he sees it as his best route to 2025.”
On Ricciardo’s mindset ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix, Horner added: “First of all, I had to be clear if I wanted to do it? Getting in an AlphaTauri is very different to driving a Red Bull car. It will certainly have its challenges.
What we need to be sure of: were you up for that scrapping challenge to get out of Q1? He seemed more than happy to be back in that situation to get back on the grid and be a Formula 1 driver again.
“The thing to remember is that Daniel drove for us for five years and won seven races in that period, some incredible performances. He spent three years driving alongside Max and the margins between them at that stage were pretty good.”
“He made the decision to leave the team and explore other options that didn’t work out for him. But the underlying talent was there. Red Bull had a reputation for being tough on their drivers, but every driver needs a different scenario, whether it’s an arm around shoulder or a different approach We take exactly the same approach with Sergio, also supporting him in his moments of difficulty.
“In the junior team, there are high expectations, but Daniel is not a junior driver. He has already proven himself in the time he has had with us. So it was about trying to rediscover the form that we know he is capable of. of doing”.
Sky Sports F1 Hungarian GP live schedule
Thursday July 20
2:00 p.m.: Drivers’ press conference
friday july 21
8:55am: F3 practice
10am: F2 practice
12:00pm: Practice 1 of the Hungarian GP (session starts at 12:30pm)
14:00: Qualifying F3
2:45 p.m.: F2 Qualifying
15:40: Practice 2 of the Hungarian GP (session starts at 16:00)
5:15 p.m.: F1 Show
Saturday July 22
8:45 a.m.: F3 Sprint
11:15am: Hungarian GP practice three (session starts at 11:30am)
1:10 p.m.: F2 Sprint
2:15 p.m.: preparation for qualifying for the Hungarian GP (showcase of heaven)
15:00: CLASSIFICATION OF THE HUNGARIAN GP (Sky Showcase)
5:00 PM: Ted’s Gradebook
sunday july 23
7:20am: F3 Main Race
9am: F2 Main Race
11:00 a.m.: Porsche Super Cup
12:30 p.m.: Sunday Grand Prix: preparation for the Hungarian GP
13:30: F1 Juniors: Hungarian Grand Prix (Sky Sports Mix and Sky Showcase)
2:00 p.m.: HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX
4:00 p.m.: Checkered flag: British GP reaction
5:00 p.m.: Ted’s Notebook
The return of Daniel Ricciardo and the first broadcast of F1 Juniors headline the Hungarian Grand Prix! Watch all the action live on Sky Sports F1 from July 21-23. Get Sky Sports