Reports: Daniel Ricciardo to replace Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri

Nyck de Vries has been replaced by Daniel Ricciardo at AlphaTauri after just 10 races. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

Nyck de Vries’ rookie season in Formula 1 lasted 10 races.

According to multiple reports including the Telegraaf in the Netherlands, de Vries has been replaced at AlphaTauri by Daniel Ricciardo. It’s a shock return to the grid for Ricciardo after his departure from McLaren at the end of the 2022 season.

De Vries was hired by AlphaTauri to replace Pierre Gasly following Gasly’s departure to Alpine. De Vries started eighth and finished ninth while subbing for Alex Albon in Monza in 2022 and had won four Formula E races over the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

But he has struggled mightily in an AlphaTauri that’s probably the worst car on the grid in 2023. De Vries’ best finish through the first 10 races of the season is a 12th at Monaco and he has finished outside the top 15 in half of his starts.

De Vries’ future has been up in the air for a few weeks after comments by Red Bull’s Helmut Marko made it clear that he needed to be faster. But it’s not like teammate Yuki Tsunoda is lighting the world on fire either. Tsunoda has two points on a pair of 10th-place finishes this seasons as AlphaTauri is last of the 10 teams in the constructor’s standings.

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 11:  Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Oracle Red Bull Racing looks on in the paddock during Formula 1 testing at Silverstone Circuit on July 11, 2023 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Daniel Ricciardo is back in the seat of a Formula 1 car. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

What does this mean for Ricciardo?

While the door isn’t shut on De Vries’ F1 career, it’s hard to see him getting another shot in one of the 20 cars on the grid given that he’s 28 years old. A likely outcome is a stint as a reserve driver with another team for the foreseeable future.

Ricciardo, meanwhile, takes over next week in Hungary in a car that has serious issues as he hopes for one last shot in top equipment.

The 34-year-old had an average finish of 12th a season ago for McLaren and parted ways with the team after a relatively unsuccessful two-year stint. While Ricciardo did win the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, that was his only podium with the team over 44 races.

Ricciardo returned to Red Bull in the offseason as the team’s third driver. He won seven races over five seasons with the team before moving to Renault in 2019.

It’s easy to see how the second half of the season could be an audition of sorts for Ricciardo to return to Red Bull in 2024. While Sergio Perez has a contract with the team through the 2024 season and the team has been publicly supportive of him, there’s no denying that he’s getting outclassed by Max Verstappen.

Perez has two wins but has failed to start inside the top 10 in any of the last five races. All five of those races have been won by Verstappen as Perez’s best finish in that span is a third. Perez still sits second in the driver’s standings and is 19 points ahead of Fernando Alonso in third. But Verstappen is a staggering 99 points ahead of Perez in first and could have his third consecutive world championship locked up in October.

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