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Daniel Set For F1 Action

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Posted on July 13, 2023 Tags:

Back to the Future

Images courtesy Red Bull F1 and

DANIEL RICCIARDO KNEW he had everything to gain when he stepped into the cockpit of Red Bull’s RB19 rocket ship (above) earlier this week, under variable skies, at ever-tricky Silverstone.

By the end of the day, Daniel’s dream had come true. He had mastered his extraordinary skills, impressed his masters, and secured his place back on the Formula One grid for the remainder of 2023!

While Daniel has done plenty of simulator work his year, this week’s testing with Pirelli was his first return to the cockpit since leaving McLaren.

As a consequence, Daniel Ricciardo – seemingly against all the odds – returns to fulltime racing with the Red Bull-owned Alpha Tauri next up in Bucharest at the Hungaroring for the Hungarian F1 Grand Prix July 21-23.

Daniel’s Masterful Performance

“I am stoked to be back on track with the Red Bull family,” said a delighted, but overwhelmed Daniel, who turned 34 on July 1.

It’ll be the West Australian’s first F1 race since he departed McLaren after an ordinary 2022 season.

And it follows his stellar performance earlier this week around uber tricky Silverstone during his long-awaited Pirelli tyre test drive in Max Verstappen’s RB19.

It was a masterful performance, with Red Bull Principal Christian Horner describing Daniel’s times as “extremely competitive”.

That was good enough for Christian and team advisor Dr Helmut Marco to immediately parachute their reserve driver into sister team Alpha Tauri to replace now dumped Dutchman Nyck De Vries (pictured below).

Image courtesy Scuderia Alpha Tauri

While Daniel started attending more F1 races on-site with Red Bull, the pressure grew on Nyck as he struggled to match teammate Yuki Tsunoda for performance. Those expensive crashes early in the season did not help his cause.

He certainly has not enjoyed his debut season for AlphaTauri, failing to notch a single point in 2023.

Helmut Marko is never one to hold back and he was public in his criticism, making clear Nyck was falling well below expectations. Even Franz Tost, AlphaTauri’s team principal, dodged an opportunity back in Austria to say his charge would see out the season, simply saying: “Nyck decides, not the team.”

Red Bull’s patience with the 28-year-old had simply run out in the brutal cut and thrust of world-class motorsport. 

An ordinary outing for 17th around Silverstone on Sunday stretched Nyck De Vries’ zero-points tally to 10 races and decided his future.

So it happened that Tuesday, July 11, morphed into the day Daniel Ricciardo’s return to the F1 grid became official.

Franz Tost revelled in the news

“I’m very pleased to welcome Daniel back into the team,” said Franz Tost, Alpha Tauti team principal. “There’s no doubt about his driving skills, 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.”

Franz also thanked Nick De Vries for his work with the Team and wished him well.

“A Very Impressive Drive” says Christian

“It is great to see Daniel hasn’t lost any form while away from racing and that the strides he has been making in Sim [simulator] sessions translate on track,” Red Bull principal Christian 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.”

Daniel’s elevation follows the remarkable success of his former McLaren team at last weekend’s British Grand Prix – a brilliant second for Lando Norris and a fourth for Oscar Piastri, the Aussie who replaced him.

Daniel’s Impressive F1 Record

Daniel Ricciardo made his debut at the 2011 British Grand Prix with the now-defunct HRT team, as part of a deal with Red Bull Racing, for whom he was test driving under its sister team Scuderia Toro Rosso.

He joined Toro Rosso fulltime in 2012 – after the team changed its driver lineup – and drove a Ferrari-powered car for them that year and in 2013. Daniel was promoted to Red Bull, alongside Sebastian Vettel, in 2014 – as a replacement for his retiring countryman Mark Webber.   

In his first season with Red Bull under Renault power, Daniel finished third in the championship with his first three Formula One wins – in Canada, Hungary, and Belgium.

After winning seven times and twice finishing P3 in the World Drivers’ Championship standings, he then moved on to Renault for two years and subsequently McLaren for another two.

His most recent victory came in Italy in 2021 with McLaren, taking advantage of an incident between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. A year earlier, he achieved a podium during his time with Renault, winning a bet in the process which forced boss Cyril Abiteboul to get a tattoo.

During his 232 F1 race starts so far Daniel has recorded eight wins, and 32 podiums. He has finished on the podium in 13.79% of his races and has taken points in 56.9%.

How F1 Describes Itself

“Extreme g-forces. Daring decisions made in the blink of an eye – and at 370km/h. Dramatically battling to be the best, Formula 1 drivers are more like fighter pilots than sportspeople. Only 20 get the chance to compete, and they push themselves – and their incredible machines – to the very limit.” July 12, 2023.

Max Just Keeps On Keeping On!

WE SHOULDN’T FORGET what a historic past week this has been for Formula One, particularly for Red Bull and superstar Max Verstappen.

• With Max’s Silverstone win Red Bull tied McLaren’s all-time record of 11 consecutive wins, set in 1988.

• Max becoming only the fifth driver in history to have won six consecutive races, joining Alberto Ascari, Michael Schumacher (who did it twice), Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg.

• It was also Max’s 29th consecutive classified race finish, coincidentally tying Daniel Ricciardo (Italy 2015 to Abu Dhabi 2016) for the longest-ever run by a Red Bull driver.

A Final Thought

THERE IS, of course, the fact that Daniel’s return to the Red Bull fold will fuel rumours he could be back alongside Max Verstappen at Red Bull in 2024.

Now wouldn’t that be nice!


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