Daniel Ricciardo’s Comeback And The Controversial Red Bull Driver Situation

Ricciardo's return follows his temporary role as Red Bull's reserve driver and his subsequent stint with AlphaTauri, which was interrupted by the hand injury.

By Yashraj Singh


2 mins read


Published on October 19, 2023

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  • Daniel Ricciardo is poised to make a comeback with AlphaTauri at the United States Grand Prix after a five-race absence due to a hand injury.
  • During his recovery, Ricciardo focused on physical conditioning and used the Red Bull simulator to prepare for his return.
  • The situation at Red Bull becomes increasingly critical, with the need for both drivers to perform at their best in competitive championships

Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo is set to make a long-awaited return to the grid with AlphaTauri at the United States Grand Prix after a five-race absence due to a broken hand.


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Ricciardo's comeback follows his initial stint as Red Bull's reserve driver at the start of the season, where he replaced Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri for the Hungarian Grand Prix. Unfortunately, his racing rhythm was disrupted as he endured a frustrating spell on the sidelines, having broken his hand during the Dutch Grand Prix in August, requiring immediate surgery.


While recovering, Ricciardo dedicated himself to physical conditioning and used the Red Bull simulator to assess his readiness for a return. This involved demo runs in the RB7 in front of 30,000 fans in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Australian driver expressed his excitement for the upcoming race, emphasising his eagerness to rejoin the competition, stating, "It's good to be back." Ricciardo also shared that despite a minor setback, he's been focused on maintaining his overall fitness and readiness to get back behind the wheel.


During his absence, AlphaTauri made updates to the AT04, offering Ricciardo an opportunity to experience the car's changes in the simulator. However, he eagerly anticipates feeling these updates during live racing on the Circuit of The Americas, a track he finds unique for its undulating and physically demanding nature.


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But Ricciardo's return marks a critical moment for Red Bull. Despite Max Verstappen's exceptional driving abilities, it's becoming apparent that the team needs both drivers firing on all cylinders for future championships with other teams like Ferrari, Mercedes and Mclaren making gains, starting with next season. The team's principal, Christian Horner, subtly acknowledged the need for Sergio Perez to step up, particularly in closer championship contests.


Ricciardo's potential comeback could add a layer of intrigue to Red Bull's driver dynamics. Though a few months ago, a return for Ricciardo seemed unlikely, the situation has evolved. A degree of desperation within Red Bull could affect the decision, given Perez's underwhelming performances recently.



The arrival of Ricciardo during Perez's underwhelming phase could complicate the situation. If Ricciardo returns to a high competitive level, Red Bull would have a challenging decision to make.


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Perez, despite offering what Red Bull needs when he's at his best, hasn't consistently met that standard. A resurgence from Ricciardo at AlphaTauri would give Red Bull management an intriguing option.

As Ricciardo gets back on the grid, the spotlight will be on his performance and whether his hand injury impacts his racing abilities. His reappearance, especially if strong, coincides with an inconvenient time for Perez, adding another layer to Red Bull's driver dilemma.

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