Daniel Ricciardo will enter the cockpit of Red Bull’s RB19 for the first time on Tuesday at Silverstone for a two-day Pirelli tire test. In recent weeks, as speculation about a return to the grid has intensified, many Red Bull decision-makers, including Christian Horner and Dr. Helmut Marko, have pointed to this test as a precursor to a return to the grid.
However, has this choice already been made? Several sources indicate that this is the case.
According to F1 Insider, the decision to replace Nyck de Vries with Daniel Ricciardo at AlphaTauri following the summer hiatus has already been made.
The Dutch outlet The Telegraph reported on Tuesday that the decision has already been made and that De Vries has been “sent away” from the team, with Ricciardo slated to replace him at next week’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
Since Marko issued De Vries a “yellow card” at the beginning of the year for a series of subpar performances, rumors have been circulating for weeks that he will be replaced.
This warning allowed De Vries to finish 12th at the Monaco Grand Prix, his best performance of the year to date, but since then, his predicament with AlphaTauri has only deteriorated.
Marko escalated the ante when, on the Inside Line F1 Podcast, he revealed that he and Red Bull team principal Christian Horner did not share the same opinion on bringing De Vries to AlphaTauri, with Horner having a more negative outlook.
Marko revealed to the Inside Line F1 Podcast that he and Horner do not always concur on driver signings, and De Vries is the most recent example. “The final individual I would mention is Nyck de Vries. “At this time, it appears that he [Horner] is correct,” said Marko.
Marko added, “It’s AlphaTauri, not Red Bull, but as we’re a large family, I’d say we’re at least getting opinions.” And he was not a huge fan of Nyck de Vries.
In addition to the F1 Insider report, former driver and current Sky Sports analyst Ralf Schumacher believes the decision has been made. “I am fairly certain that the decision has been made. He performed admirably, had his best performance at Monza last year, and was in the right place at the right moment. It’s unfortunate for him that he probably can’t drive at Zandvoort, but it’s excellent for Daniel Ricciardo and the team,” Schumacher said. “AlphaTauri is terrible on the road and needs more expertise. Nothing is certain, but all things are possible.”
Marko was queried by Sky Sports about a possible move ahead of the British Grand Prix, but the Red Bull advisor remained tight-lipped. “Tuesday is the tire test, and then we’ll see.”
Marko responded, “Let’s examine the tire tests, and then we can discuss the matter.”
When the initial rumors about Ricciardo replacing De Vries began to circulate, Red Bull and AlphaTauri speculated that the team would consider one of its junior drivers as a potential replacement. Prior to the British Grand Prix, Marko himself recommended their youthful duo. “Two of our drivers are prepared for Formula 1.” This is Liam Lawson, and this is Ayumu Iwasa. Marko stated to ServusTV that we are monitoring De Vries’s progress.
However, current indications point to Ricciardo as the more immediate replacement, possibly on a trial basis to ascertain his 2024 status.
This action could also involve De Vries’ current AlphaTauri teammate, Yuki Tsunoda. Tsunoda has obviously been ahead of De Vries so far this season, having qualified ahead of him in seven of ten races and accumulating two points, while De Vries has yet to score any.
Is this a result of Tsunoda’s development or the struggles of the rookie? If Tsunoda continues to outpace his AlphaTauri teammate Ricciardo, who is now a seasoned veteran, that will speak volumes about his development.
And could prepare Tsunoda for a future transfer to Red Bull.
Red Bull released images on Tuesday of Ricciardo climbing into the RB19 for the first time, with his number 3 displayed on the front wing:
Ricciardo may or may not take over for De Vries at the end of August, but one thing is certain: