Red Bull’s Christian Horner explains decision behind Nyck de Vries’ AlphaTauri dismissal
Daniel Ricciardo is set to make his return to Formula 1 this weekend after Nyck de Vries was axed from AlphaTauri
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Christian Horner has revealed why Nyck de Vries was axed from the Red Bull junior team, AlphaTauri. The Red Bull team principal has shared why bosses made the decision to replace the Dutch diver in favour of Australian Daniel Ricciardo for the rest of the season.
Just two days after the British Grand Prix, it was announced that Ricciardo would be making a surprise mid-season return after sitting out of the start of the season. Dropped by McLaren at the end of 2022, Ricciardo was left out of a seat, before being taken in as a Red Bull reserve driver.
The 34-year-old was in the middle of a tyre test at Silverstone with Mercedes reserve driver Mick Schumacher, when the news broke that De Vries would not continue as the AlphaTauri driver.
Speaking to the F1 Nation podcast, Horner said: Nyck is a very capable driver, a Formula E champion, a Formula 2 champion, he’s obviously got a lot of experience, he’s not a young driver as such from an age perspective.
“And I just didn’t see how it fitted within the junior programme. It was almost a stop-gap. It all happened a little quicker than expected, bearing in mind that we hadn’t completed the test. Helmut [Marko] spoke with Nyck and he was the one that obviously had recruited him.
“He was the one that spoke with Nyck about Lap 11 of the test, I think. It was becoming obviously a difficult situation for Nyck de Vries. But there was a high expectation on him because, whilst inexperienced in Formula 1, he’s obviously a very experienced driver.
"I think there was a general feeling that Nyck wasn’t quite hitting the mark. And then the question was, what are the options if we were to switch things around?
"And from a Red Bull Racing perspective, the most interesting option for me was to see how Daniel performs. So that was the decision that was made. It all happened pretty quick and here he is for the Hungarian Grand Prix."
Horner also revealed that Ricciardo will be targeting the 2025 Red Bull seat, when Sergio Perez’ contract ends. Horner said: "Daniel firmly wants to be pitching for that 2025 Red Bull seat, that’s his goal and objective. By going to AlphaTauri he sees that as his best route of steadying his case for 2025."