[Ricciardo to make shock AlphaTauri F1 return, De Vries out
Earlier on Tuesday, it emerged that De Vries had been dismissed after just 10 grands prix following a disappointing start to his F1 career with the Italian squad.
AlphaTauri has now confirmed De Vries’ exit and has announced that Red Bull third driver Ricciardo will step into the Dutchman’s seat for the remainder of the 2023 season.
“Scuderia AlphaTauri announces that Daniel Ricciardo will be joining the team on loan from Red Bull Racing for the remainder of the Formula 1 season, starting from the upcoming Hungarian Grand Prix,” the team said in a statement.
“I’m very pleased to welcome Daniel back into the team,” added team boss Franz Tost. “There’s no doubt about his driving skills, and he already knows many of us, so his integration will be easy and straight forward. 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.”
Nyck de Vries, AlphaTauri AT04
Photo by: Erik Junius
Ricciardo returned to the Red Bull family as a third driver after losing his McLaren drive at the end of last year, one year before the end of his contract.
The 34-year-old Australian opted to take a sabbatical to recharge his batteries after a punishing stint with the Woking team, but has been keeping race ready and completed his first test with the current Red Bull RB19 on Tuesday.
Ricciardo has now been handed 12 races at AlphaTauri to prove to Red Bull that he has been able to rebuild himself after his 2022 exit, potentially with a view to challenging Sergio Perez for the Red Bull seat alongside Max Verstappen.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner commented: “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.
“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.”
Ricciardo previously drove for AlphaTauri in its Toro Rosso guise in 2012 and 2013 before earning a promoting to Red Bull’s main team.
The Australian took seven of his eight F1 wins for Red Bull alongside Sebastian Vettel and Verstappen, before moving on to Renault and then McLaren.
Alongside fellow rookie Logan Sargeant, De Vries was the only driver yet to register points in 2023 as he struggled for pace compared to team-mate Yuki Tsunoda.
His cause wasn’t helped by AlphaTauri underperforming with this season’s AT04, which has left the team last in the constructors’ championship after 10 races with just two points.
But Red Bull’s patience – and in particular that of driver advisor Helmut Marko – with the former F2 and FE champion was wearing thin and after just 10 races he has now moved to replace him.