Daniel Ricciardo replaces Ncyk De Vries at AlphaTauri

Red Bull loans Daniel Ricciardo to Alpha Tauri as Ricciardo returns to the grid.

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Red Bull made headlines in Formula One when they unexpectedly replaced Nyck de Vries with Daniel Ricciardo at junior team AlphaTauri. This decision puts pressure on Red Bull's Sergio Perez to improve his performance. Ricciardo's sudden return to the grid is surprising, considering he initially planned to take the entire year off. This move is consistent with Red Bull's history of making tough driver decisions. The decision was made after Ricciardo tested the 2023 Red Bull and impressed team principal Christian Horner. The news spread quickly through Dutch journalists and forced Red Bull to announce the change earlier than planned. Ricciardo's lap times during the test were reportedly very impressive, even comparable to those of the front row at the British Grand Prix. 

Red Bull was amazed by Ricciardo's performance, as many believed he had lost his form at McLaren. This successful test was crucial in securing Ricciardo's position at AlphaTauri. Although Ricciardo initially did not want to race in 2023, circumstances changed over the Silverstone weekend, prompting him to reconsider. If he had waited, Red Bull junior Liam Lawson could have taken his place instead. Ricciardo's goal is to ultimately return to the top team at Red Bull, and he sees racing for AlphaTauri as a step towards achieving that. In addition, Ricciardo's time away from racing has allowed him to gain a fresh perspective and improve his mental state.

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Red Bull's decision to replace Nyck de Vries with Daniel Ricciardo at AlphaTauri could put pressure on Sergio Perez, whose form has been declining since the Miami Grand Prix. Ricciardo's arrival serves as a reminder that there is an available replacement if Perez fails to improve. Although AlphaTauri currently has one of the least competitive cars in Formula One, Ricciardo's performance will be closely evaluated within the team. His initial task will be to outperform his new teammate Yuki Tsunoda, something he struggled to do with Lando Norris at McLaren. While Perez's position seems secure for now, there is growing frustration and Red Bull cannot afford to have him perform poorly if other teams close in on them in 2024. 

Ricciardo is well-liked within the team and, if he can return to his previous level of performance, he would be an excellent replacement for a team fighting for championships. It's worth noting that Red Bull is aware of the trend of struggles experienced by Max Verstappen's teammates in the past. However, team principal Christian Horner does not view replacing Perez as a simple solution. Perez is considered one of the grid's most underrated talents, and Red Bull wants to find a way for him to succeed alongside Verstappen. 

While De Vries did not get much of a chance at AlphaTauri, there were mixed opinions about him within the paddock. Some found him difficult to work with, while others had a different perspective. Ultimately, Marko's decision to replace De Vries with Ricciardo is seen as a setback to his reputation for identifying driver talent. Despite his achievements in other racing series, De Vries faced an uphill battle in F1 and never stood a chance after poor results early on.

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