After months of speculation and threat over Nyck De Vries' Formula 1 career, Red Bull have finally made the call to replace the Dutch driver with Daniel Ricciardo at AlphaTauri.
Red Bull have announced that Nyck De Vries will be replaced by Daniel Ricciardo at AlphaTauri with immediate effect. De Vries has been put under a lot pressure at AlphaTauri to perform as early as the Australian Grand Prix with rumours he would only have till the Spanish Grand Prix to turn his form around. Now the Dutch driver did make it further than after showing some good perfomances from his side but after the British Grand Prix it was clear from Red Bull that he would be gone sooner rather than later.
De Vries had shown promise in previous years having won the Formula 2 championship, Formula E championship and had a great F1 debut for Williams at last years Italian Grand Prix as he took over from an ill Alex Abon scoring two needed points for the team. De Vries was also Mercedes' reserve and test driver who had been completing FP1 sessions for both the silver arrows and Aston Martin team.
Red Bull and Helmut Marko set De Vries the task of matching Yuki Tsunoda's lap times on simulator while he did improve it just was not enough to keep his seat. The Dutch driver had poor performances over the opening few weekend's of the season but was fighting at the back of the midfield in every race. His age also played apart as Marko referenced that he is 28 and it is not like he is a rookie that does not have much experience racing at motosports highest levels in different disciplines.
Was it always going to Ricciardo replacing De Vries?
The announcement comes after Daniel Ricciardo completed his first test in Red Bull's RB19 at Silverstone during a Pirelli tyre test. According to reports Christian Horner called Helmut Marko after an hour of Ricciardo being in the car to tell him about how fast the Australian was despite not being in a F1 car since last December. It was said that Ricciardo's fastest lap was good enough to put him on the front row at the British Grand Prix which show's just how good Ricciardo is at jumping in the car and getting perfomance out of it.
Daniel Ricciardo said over the weekend that he was eager to get back racing after not competing over the course of this season. He left McLaren after just two years at the team as he felt it just was not right for him and became Red Bull's reserve driver. There was rumours around the paddock about who would go in the AlphaTauri seat if De Vries was dropped with reports saying it would be either Ricciardo or Red Bull junior driver Liam Lawson.
Helmut Marko made the decision to go with Daniel as his experience would help AlphaTauri who are currently last in the constructors championship. Along with his experience, Ricciardo made his full time F1 season debut at AlphaTauri when it was known as Toro Rosso back in 2012. This subsequently saw him joining the senior Red Bull team in 2014 as a replacement for the retiring Mark Webber. The 2014 season would see Ricciardo go onto win three races that season at the Canadian, Hungarian and Belgian Grand Prix's which were the only races the dominant Mercedes team did not win that season.
This move will allow Red Bull to evaluate their future considerations as Sergio Perez has not had the best of season's so far having missed five Q3 sessions in a row with the latest being at Silverstone. Perez has a contract at Red Bull till the end of 2024 but the team is known to be ruthless with its drivers as shown with what has just happened with Nyck De Vries.
Ricciardo's first weekend back competing in Formula 1 will be at next weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix where he has a strong record of results.