AlphaTauri has confirmed that Daniel Ricciardo has replaced Nyck de Vries with immediate effect and for the remainder of the 2023 Formula 1 season.
De Vries was signed by Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko, over the then objections from Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, after an impressive run to points for Williams whilst deputising for Alex Albon at last year’s Italian Grand Prix.
But the Dutchman has struggled during his rookie campaign, failing to score a single point and regularly being outperformed by team-mate Yuki Tsunoda.
The ex-Formula E champion’s last outing came at Silverstone on Sunday, where he finished last of the classified runners. His rather lacklustre performance over the last 10 grands prix has been a constant talking point both amongst the media and fans alike.
Ricciardo, meanwhile, was axed by McLaren at the end of last year following two difficult seasons with the Woking-based squad in favour of rookie Oscar Piastri, who took fourth place last time out at Silverstone at the weekend. The Australian, who left Red Bull for pastures new in 2019, returned to the energy drinks-backed outfit as a reserve driver at the start of this year.
He made his first outing in the team’s 2023 car, the RB19, on Tuesday in a Pirelli test and has been described as being “on loan” from the reigning World Champions.
Having expressed previously that he still harboured hopes of completing a full-time comeback to the F1 grid with a race-winning team, Ricciardo stated earlier this year that driving for Red Bull again would mark the “fairytale” ending to his career in the sport.
After remaining tight-lipped on a potential move to AlphaTauri – for whom Ricciardo drove when it was named Toro Rosso in 2012-13 – during the weekend, the 34-year-old has now been confirmed alongside Tsunoda for the final 11 races of 2023.
Ricciardo will make his debut at next weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix and will be expected to at least match team-mate Tsunoda given his past race experience.
“I’m very pleased to welcome Daniel back into the team,” AlphaTauri Team Principal Franz Tost said. “There’s no doubt about his driving skill, and he already knows many of us, so his integration will be easy and straightforward.
“The team will also profit a lot from his experience, as he is an eight-time Formula 1 Grand Prix winner.
“I would like to thank Nyck for his valuable contribution during his time with Scuderia AlphaTauri, and I wish him all the best for the future.”
Ricciardo added that he was “stoked to be back on track with the Red Bull family!”