Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull reserve driver, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2023

Ricciardo could return to AlphaTauri if team lacks young driver options – Tost

2023 Austrian Grand Prix

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Daniel Ricciardo could return to Formula 1 with AlphaTauri – a team he previously drove for when it was called Toro Rosso – in 2024.

The eight-times grand prix winner is without a drive this year after his contract to race for McLaren was cut short by a year as the team were not happy with his performance. Ricciardo drove for Toro Rosso in 2012 and 2013 before being called up to join Red Bull, where he scored all bar one of his F1 victories.

Ricciardo has said he is keen to return to F1, preferably with a front-running team. AlphaTauri currently lies last in the constructors’ championship, but will undergo a change of management at the end of the year and is looking to follow more closely the design lead set by Red Bull, who are dominating the world championship at the moment.

Red Bull has previously used AlphaTauri and Toro Rosso to develop junior drivers. Its current team principal Franz Tost says that willla remain its purpose, but it is open to bringing in others if there are no suitable juniors to promote from the lower categories.

While Red Bull juniors Ayumu Iwasa and Isack Hadjar have impressed in Formula 2, Tost is not sure they are ready for promotion yet.

“The philosophy is quite clear, the performance decides,” said Tost. “Of course, the team philosophy is to educate young drivers. But if young drivers are not currently there – they’re coming, some good young drivers, Iwasa is doing a good job, Hadjar is doing a good job, but it’s simply a little bit too early for them. I see them earlier or later in our team but if the time is too early, then maybe we have to find another solution. But this has not been discussed so far.”

Liam Lawson, who drove for AlphaTauri in some practice sessions last year, holds second place in Japan’s competitive Super Formula championship after the halfway point in its season. Tost indicated he could be an option for AlphaTauri as well.

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“Liam has done a good job when he was driving for us last year in Abu Dhabi and he is currently doing a good job in Japan because it’s quite a tough championship over there,” he said. “As I said before, it’s a performance question.

“We have to find out, we have to see which driver is first of all, available and matured enough and educated enough and ready to go for a Formula 1 car. This we will see. Currently, nothing has been decided.”

AlphaTauri’s current line-up is Yuki Tsunoda and Nyck de Vries. The former is expected to remain in his seat next year, as Red Bull will retain its two drivers, but the latter’s performances have been criticised by some at the team, notably motorsport consultant Helmut Marko.

Tost says De Vries has the potential to demonstrate he deserves a place in F1 over the coming races at tracks which are more familiar to him. “In Formula 1 every driver has pressure,” he said. “We will see how Nyck is doing here, how Nyck is doing in Silverstone because he knows these race tracks.

“We must not forget that the rookie drivers nowadays are really in a difficult situation. Why? If you look to the first part of the season most of the race tracks they don’t know. They haven’t raced in Melbourne before in Formula 2 or Formula 3, they haven’t raced in Saudi Arabia or Miami.

“Baku, maybe, but in Baku we had the sprint race like here: FP1, qualifying for the race and then the qualifying for the sprint race. That means the weekends are flying away. And for the rookie drivers this is really very, very difficult.

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“Now at least they come to race tracks which they know. It’s Austria, it’s Silverstone, Spa, Budapest, Monza and I think this helps more. It helps them be more confident.”

Although drivers can prepare for new tracks in the simulator, Tost said it cannot prepare them for every aspect of performing at the real thing.

“Of course they know where the corners are also on the other tracks because they were in the simulator but to be in the simulator and to drive a Formula 1 car on the track is a different story.

“Especially with changing conditions, you are all experts, you know, it’s a difference whether you are out now with 35 degrees of track temperature and then in the evening the qualifying is maybe 20 degrees. Warming up the tyres in the first lap is an issue. Here you have understeering problems. What do you do with the front tyres, how do you warm up the brakes? These are all processes which you have to learn.

“That’s the reason I always say the driver needs three years minimum to understand all this. And we will see now. I’m still positive Nyck will do a good job.”

However when asked Tost did not confirm De Vries will see out the season in his seat. “Nyck decides,” he said. “Not the team. If he shows a good performance why we would we change him?”

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2023 Austrian Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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10 comments on “Ricciardo could return to AlphaTauri if team lacks young driver options – Tost”

  1. Except they don’t lack those presently.

  2. Surely Liam Lawson gets a spot on the team next season?

    1. @paeschli Logically thinking he should if any driver change were to happen.

  3. That can only mean they are unimpressed by Liam Lawson.

  4. Imagine the absolutely dire state of the Red Bull young drivers program if they resort to putting this has-been in their junior team.

    1. @proesterchen More like the existence would become pointless if someone like Lawson, with his performance this year, would get overlooked for someone who’s effectively too experienced for a team like AlphaTauri.

  5. the guy was acting like he was the hot stuff and teams would be all interested and making way for him and….he might finally get a seat. At the junior team.

    Talk about a downfall.

    1. Given how Perez is performing, he might be back in the Red Bull in 2025.

  6. Yellow Baron
    30th June 2023, 16:58

    Can they please be named torro rosso again.

  7. Electroball76
    30th June 2023, 19:44

    Daniil Ricciardo, the comeback kid

Comments are closed.