F1 legend reacts to Daniel Ricciardo’s controversial move

Red Bull have decided to dump Nyck de Vries and sign Daniel Ricciardo to become Yuki Tsunoda's team-mate.

A Formula 1 legend has backed Daniel Ricciardo to make the most of his second chance on the grid. 

The Aussie will return to competitive F1 action at the Hungarian Grand Prix later this month, driving for AlphaTauri. 

He replaces Nyck de Vries, who had failed to score a world championship point in his 10 races with the team.

The Dutchman’s departure is unsurprising given his lack of decent results. 

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Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko had also been publicly stating that he would not be afraid to make changes unless De Vries’ performances improved. 

Some F1 fans feel the former Formula 2 and Formula E champion was hard done-by and should have been given more time. 

Others understand that F1 is a results business and will have expected the change.

Emerson Fittipaldi counts himself among the latter group. 

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The three-time world champion has no problem with the decision to axe De Vries and has backed Red Bull and AlphaTauri to make the right decisions regarding their driver line-ups.

“A decision from the team, they know what they are doing and why they are doing it,” the Brazilian told VegasInsider. 

“The most important thing is that they want to change drivers – it can happen at any time. 

“Nyck de Vries is also a good driver, but sometimes it’s the decision of the team to try a different driver. 

“That’s a part of the sport.”

Fittipaldi was also supportive of Red Bull’s decision to send Ricciardo to AlphaTauri for the rest of the season. 

The 76-year-old added: “I like Daniel Ricciardo a lot. He’s an incredible professional, very experienced now and has been fast. 

“I’m sure he’s going to do a good job. 

“I was lucky in the last few years to associate with Daniel at McLaren. 

“He has a very good personality. He’s good.”

While Ricciardo was not at his best while racing for McLaren, Red Bull chief Christian Horner has seen all he needs to see to be confident that he is now back to his old self. 

Speaking after Ricciardo’s Silverstone test on Tuesday, 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.”

Meanwhile, though Ricciardo has clearly accepted the task of driving one of the least competitive cars on the grid for now, he won’t plan on doing it forever. 

He has said in the recent past that he would only accept the seat if he saw it as a path back to Red Bull.

Sergio Perez is already under pressure, having endured a horrible run of qualifying form of late. 

It has led to him slipping 99 points behind team-mate Max Verstappen and speculation over his future with the team.

READ: Christian Horner denies Sergio Perez ‘plan’ as Lewis Hamilton demands upgrades

Red Bull insist that they have no plans to replace the Mexican, whose contract runs to the end of next year.

But a strong showing this season from Ricciardo in that AlphaTauri car could strengthen his case that he might be better suited to be Verstappen’s teammate than Perez. 

The upcoming Hungarian Grand Prix will be an important opportunity for Ricciardo to prove himself once again on the Formula 1 stage.