AlphaTauri boss on Daniel Ricciardo re-joining Red Bull

Sergio Perez has struggled in the last few races of 2023 and has been comprehensively outperformed by Max Verstappen.

Franz Tost, the team principal of AlphaTauri, has provided insights into how Daniel Ricciardo could secure a return to Formula 1. 

The energetic Australian driver finds himself on the sidelines in 2023 after being released from his McLaren contract a year earlier than planned. 

Although Ricciardo initially rejoined his former team Red Bull as a reserve driver, he has expressed his eagerness to make a comeback after sitting out the first eight races of the season.

While a mid-season move appears unlikely at this stage, the most plausible option for Ricciardo would be with Red Bull’s sister team, AlphaTauri. 

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The team has a track record of nurturing young drivers like Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly for potential promotions to Red Bull. 

However, Tost acknowledged that if their current young drivers are not ready, they will not take unnecessary risks.

F2 drivers Isack Hadjar and Ayumu Iwasa, both members of the Red Bull academy, have been linked with AlphaTauri, but Tost suggested it might be too early for them. 

“The philosophy is quite clear, the performance decides,” he explained. 

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“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.”

Among the young talents, Liam Lawson appears to be the frontrunner. 

However, Tost emphasised the need to determine which driver has matured enough for Formula 1. 

“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.”

While AlphaTauri’s primary plan is to stick with Nyck de Vries, the pressure on the Dutch rookie continues to grow with each race. 

Helmut Marko, Red Bull’s senior advisor, recently revealed that Christian Horner was initially hesitant about signing De Vries. 

Tost, however, believes that De Vries’ performance will improve on tracks he is familiar with.

“In Formula 1, every driver has pressure,” Tost stated. 

“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. If you look at the first part of the season, most of the race tracks are new to them. 

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“They haven’t raced in Melbourne before in Formula 2 or Formula 3, they haven’t raced in Saudi Arabia or Miami.

“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.”