Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has explained the decision to oust the under-pressure Dutchman in favour of Daniel Ricciardo.
The British Grand Prix was a swansong for Nyck de Vries. Despite finishing under two seconds away from teammate Yuki Tsunoda, Red Bull wielded its infamous driver axe. This ended De Vries’ career after just 11 rounds of the 2023 season.
The decision was made after the tyre test that took place after the race. Bringing back another ousted driver at the expense of De Vries at AlphaTauri has generated questions about why the decision to replace the Dutchman happened so quickly.
Speaking to formula1.com, Horner admitted that De Vries was in a difficult situation due to ‘high expectation’: “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.”
The Red Bull Team Principal said De Vries ‘wasn’t quite hitting the mark’. This drove him and Marko to investigate the potential for a driver change:
“I think there was a general feeling that Nyck wasn’t quite hitting the mark. And then the question was, you know, what are the options if we were to switch things around?”
Outlining that the decision to bring back Ricciardo was made ‘ quickly’, Horner said De Vries was informed of his fate just 11 laps into the tyre test: “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.”
“Helmut spoke with Nyck, and, you know, 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.”
When asked if allowing the Dutchman to race at his home race next month, Horner repeated the same stance as Marko: “I think it’s very difficult. That would have meant obviously leaving him in the car until after the summer break. I think the situation was clear. It was a question of, okay, what’s the point in waiting?”
“If we’ve got to do something, we might as well get on with it and give Daniel 12 races to see what he’s capable of.”