Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko has hinted that Daniel Ricciardo will stay at AlphaTauri for the 2024 season if he continues to perform.
After last season’s messy exit from McLaren, Ricciardo joined Red Bull as the powerhouse F1 team’s reserve driver, but found himself back on the grid following the recent British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
The Australian replaced the struggling Nyck de Vries at Red Bull’s junior squad, showing promising signs in two appearances at the Hungaroring and Spa.
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Ricciardo, an eight-time race winner, is now eyeing a seat with Red Bull in 2025 after Sergio Perez’s contract with the team next season. However, Marko hinted that Ricciardo would need to bide his time at AlphaTauri, pointing out there will still be competition for those seats in 2024.
“We know his goals, but how to achieve them, whether he is ready to do a full year at AlphaTauri next year with full commitment,” Marko told Motorsport-Magazin.
“Yuki Tsunoda has steadily improved in and of himself, has his emotions under control for the most part, is now also conditionally capable of driving through a GP.
“We have alternatives, for example (Liam) Lawson, who is second in Japan and is very successful there and has made a big leap forward in his whole development since he’s been driving in Japan.”
Marko suggested that Ricciardo was already performing considerably better than de Vries, who was unceremoniously axed halfway through his maiden F1 season.
“The change has had a very positive effect, in terms of mood and motivation in the AlphaTauri team,” Marko continued.
“While the gap of De Vries was on average three to five tenths, Ricciardo, if you adjust for all that, is significantly less, if not on par with Tsunoda.
“We have nine races left; in these nine races we will watch how it develops. Tsunoda had a very good race in Spa, maybe in the middle sector when it was raining a bit too much, maybe he could have had a better result. Daniel was not far away from points in the sprint. This direction fits.”
Last month’s Hungarian Grand Prix marked the first time Ricciardo had represented AlphaTauri since 2013.
“The facility has changed a lot in the last 10 years since I was there. So it felt like a new team or a fresh environment,” Ricciardo told RacingNews365.
“But also, 10 years is a long time. That team has changed. I‘ve changed. There’s a nice kind of nostalgia going back. But I feel like we both evolved and I’m starting this next phase.”
The F1 season resumes next weekend with the Dutch Grand Prix, which gets underway on Sunday, August 27 at 11pm AEST.
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