Christian Horner wants Alpine to sign this former Red Bull driver

Daniel Ricciardo is searching for a 2023 seat following his McLaren axe.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has tipped Alpine to sign outgoing McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo to replace Aston Martin bound Fernando Alonso, with the Brit certain the Aussie could be “rebuilt”.

Ricciardo has faced a disastrous couple of seasons with the Woking-based team; excluding his magical 2021 Italian Grand Prix victory, there has been nothing to cheer about for the team nor the driver.

His poor performances have seen himself and the team cut short his current contract, which actually was due to expire at the end of 2023.

The Honey Badger will be replaced by exciting youngster Oscar Piastri, who is part of an exclusive club having won the Formula 3 and Formula 2 World Championships in back-to-back seasons.

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The 21-year-old won the F3 title in 2020, before clinching the F2 title in 2021; however, he has sat on the Alpine side-lines this season as their reserve driver.

His move to McLaren has left Ricciardo searching for a seat next season, with Horner suggesting that the Australian should be top of Alpine’s list.

Ricciardo’s only two options appear to be either Alpine or Haas, who look set to replace Mick Schumacher.

Alpine would, of course, be a much more competitive seat and would see the 33-year-old return to Enstone (Alpine were formerly known as Renault, whom Ricciardo left for McLaren).

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The French side could get the best out of the Australian, especially having worked with him before.

Whilst appearing on F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast, Horner explained that if he was the boss of Alpine, he’d pick the former Red Bull driver.

“I think I probably would (go with Ricciardo) to be honest with you,” the Red Bull boss said.

“They obviously know him from a couple of seasons ago and he was very together during his last season there, scoring podiums, and I think he’s the type of guy that, I think you could rebuild him.

“It’s obviously not been a great experience for him (at McLaren) for whatever reason but you just have to think back to some of the drives that he did for us, some of the wins he had, the podiums, some of the stunning overtakes he was capable of … that’s still in there I’m sure, he just needs a bit of a reset.

“You don’t just forget how to deliver so I hope for him he gets another opportunity and gets himself back on the grid for next year.”

Former F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve has a completely different opinion to Horner, with the Canadian having absolutely no idea why the French team would sign the underperforming Aussie.

“Why would he be?” the 1997 world champion told F1 TV when asked if Ricciardo is an Alpine candidate.

“He had two terrible years at Renault and two even more terrible years at McLaren. That’s four years. Almost half of his Formula 1 career was bad.

“Alpine have no reason to take him, especially when he’s driven there before.

“The modern cars just don’t seem to suit his driving style.

“He was impressive at Red Bull. He showed amazing overtaking manoeuvres. He was ahead of Max at the beginning. But in the end Max started to get a handle on him. Then he switched. And after the switch something seems to have happened that he never managed to get a handle on. He never recovered from that.”

Ricciardo has already spoken that he’s “accepted” the possibility that he may have to take a one-year hiatus from the championship, with a return in 2024 possible due to a number of contracts being due for renewal at the end of next season.

The Australian was caught talking to Sergio Pérez at the Dutch Grand Prix, where he discussed the idea of taking a year out.

Whilst some drivers have done this and successfully returned, Villeneuve is unsure if this is the best option for the Australian.

The 1997 World Champion wonders if Ricciardo will become “lazy” should he take a year out, with the Canadian believing that the McLaren driver should accept any F1 seat he can get, no matter on the team’s current position.

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“It could make him lazy,” he explained.

“You can take a year off if you’re an Alonso, a Schumacher, if you’ve been world champion and won a lot of races, if you know in the paddock that you’ll always be at your best, no matter what season. After four bad years don’t do that.

“You take what you can get. If you have an offer to drive in Formula 1, then you take every cockpit. In public you will say, ‘You don’t want to drive for one of the back teams’, but if that’s the only contract you can get, then you’ll sign it.”