While this allowed 21-year-old Liam Lawson to sparkle when deputising for the Australian, it meant that Ricciardo was only able to participate in seven races throughout 2023, having been dropped from the McLaren team at the end of 2022.
Despite this, AlphaTauri decided to stick with the experienced partnership of Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda for 2024, meaning we will be seeing plenty more of the so-called honey badger next season.
Ricciardo's Red Bull permission
Now, Bayer has revealed that Ricciardo's return to F1 may not have even happened, after Red Bull initially wanted him to stay as their reserve driver.
"Daniel is a real reference for Yuki. He brought an incredible amount of new energy into the team within a week. Our mechanics were happy: 'Hey, wow, something is happening!' The transition wasn't easy, but at the end of the day it had such a positive impact.
“Originally it was said: ‘No, Daniel is a reserve driver at Red Bull and it stays that way.’ And then over the course of a month we actually kept asking how things were going.
"At some point Christian Horner came to us and said: 'We're doing the test at Silverstone, maybe we'll take a look at it.' Then Helmut said: 'Yes, why not?'”
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