Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has praised the efforts behind the wheel of Daniel Ricciardo, after the Australian lapped for the team at a Silverstone Pirelli test on Tuesday – before a shock call up to AlphaTauri later in the day.
Ricciardo had been scheduled to drive in the Pirelli test heading into the Silverstone weekend as part of his third driver duties for Red Bull Racing – with sources revealing to F1.com that the Australian clocked times that would have put him on the front row of the grid for last weekend’s British Grand Prix.
But events escalated later in the day when AlphaTauri confirmed that Ricciardo would replace Nyck de Vries at the team from the upcoming Hungarian Grand Prix onwards, on loan from Red Bull – with Horner confident that Ricciardo was still as fast as ever behind the wheel despite several months out of the cockpit.
“It was great to see Daniel hasn’t lost any form while away from racing,” said Horner, “and that the strides he has been making in his sim sessions translate on track.
“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.”
Ricciardo’s ‘return’ to AlphaTauri – he raced for the team in their Toro Rosso guise in 2012-13 – will also see him reunited with Team Principal Franz Tost. And the Austrian – whose team have scored just two points in 2023 so far – predicted that the team would “profit” from Ricciardo’s experience, while also paying tribute to the out-going De Vries, who drove just 10 races for the team.
“I’m very pleased to welcome Daniel back into the team,” said Tost. “There’s no doubt about his driving skills, and he already knows many of us, so his integration will be easy and straight forward.
“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.”