On Tuesday, a shocking move set the Formula 1 community buzzing as Daniel Ricciardo, a reserve driver for team Red Bull, was transferred to AlphaTauri to replace the Rookie Nyck de Vries.
Daniel Ricciardo is back.
Daniel Ricciardo, 34, has been sent on loan to AlphaTauri, Red Bull’s sister team, to replace Nyck De Vries, who the team has fired after just ten races.
Ricciardo, an eight-time grand prix winner, will join AlphaTauri for the remainder of the 2023-24 campaign and will return to the Formula 1 grid at the next race weekend in Hungary on the 21st-23rd of July.
Ricciardo started his career in F1 with Toro Rosso in 2012 and 2013 before being promoted to Red Bull in 2014. Toro Rosso was later rebranded as AlphaTauri.
Ricciardo left Red Bull in 2019 to join Renault for two seasons and then moved to McLaren in 2021. However, after just two seasons, he was released by Mclaren due to a lack of satisfactory results.
Time’s up for Nyck De Vries.
The action is a massive blow for 28-year-old Nyck De Vries, who came into his rookie season with high expectations as a Formula 2 and Formula E world champion. He had also impressed when he stood in for Williams’s Alex Albon at Monza last year and finished ninth in Williams. That race eventually secured him a seat in Formula 1.
However, the Dutchman De Vries has struggled in his rookie season as he has failed to score any points in ten races and only has a best finish of 12th after ten races. In fact, he has been outperformed by his teammate Yuki Tsunoda in eight races out of ten.
Several weeks ago AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost had mentioned that coming races would decide De Vries’s fate, and since he hasn’t improved, the team had decided his time was up.
Soon, rumours floated that the Red Bull junior driver Liam Lawson, competing in the Japanese Super Formula series, would replace De Vries. However, Alphatauri was not ready to handle another rookie and instead went with the experienced option of Daniel Riccardo.
Pressure builds on Sergio Perez.
This move is also significant for Red Bull driver Sergio Perez, who is currently going through a terrible time. Due to this, his future is also now being questioned.
Perez has failed to reach Q3 in Qualifying for the last five races in a row in a car that is undoubtedly the quickest on the grid. Red Bull has the best F1 car right now, often referred to as Rocket Ship by competitors.
Thus, trailing his teammate Max Verstappen, who has won the last six races in a row and is ahead of Perez by nearly 100 points, is not helping his cause.
Although Red Bull has publicly supported Pérez, his current performance and failure to perform in the fastest car on the grid have frustrated team bosses.
Hence, it will be interesting to see how Ricciardo will use this opportunity to make a strong case for a chance to return to Red Bull. At the same time, with the added pressure on Perez, whether will he thrive or perish remains to be seen.