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Ricciardo remains top prospect for AlphaTauri seat

Despite questions over his performance, the Australian driver could be set to stay with AlphaTauri next season

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Despite links to the main Red Bull team, Daniel Ricciardo remains a top contender for a full-time seat at AlphaTauri for the 2024 season.

Ricciardo AlphaTauri
Daniel Ricciardo driving the AlphaTauri on track (Credit: GettyImages)

In recent years, AlphaTauri have been focussed on bringing through young drivers onto the Formula 1 grid, allowing them to showcase their talent as an audition for the Red Bull senior team. Despite this Ricciardo remains a top contender for a seat, even at 34 years old. The Australian driver came to AlphaTauri after Nyck de Vries’ departure from the team.

Having a tough return to life on the grid, Ricciardo’s 2024 season only got worse. He failed to pick up a point in his first two races before breaking a bone in his left hand. This meant Liam Lawson stepped into the car for Zandvoort and Monza. The youngster is set to continue replacing Ricciardo in Singapore and Japan with Qatar expected to be Ricciardo’s return race.

However, under new CEO Peter Bayer, AlphaTauri may look to go a slightly different direction with their driver line-up, something that could play into the hands of Ricciardo. Speaking to PlanetF1, Bayer said:

“My belief is that… obviously, we cannot only develop young drivers – we also have to be competitive.

“I think, to be competitive nowadays, you need… in order to fulfil both cars, you need to have one experienced driver and one young one. That’s really what I’m trying to achieve, you know, to have an experienced one and a young one.

“Because then the young one will learn more from the experienced one, the experienced one will help us and, for example, Daniel helped us tremendously on setting up the car.

“So whilst we give feedback to a young driver, the experienced one gives us feedback, and I’m convinced you need to have those two.”

What does this mean for Yuki Tsunoda?

With AlphaTauri potentially looking for the next young prospect to come through the Red Bull Academy, Ricciardo’s teammate, Yuki Tsunoda, may now be worried about his place on the grid.

Should Ricciardo continue in his place at AlphaTauri for next season, Bayer may want to look at a rookie to take the remaining seat. One candidate could be Lawson who has impressed in his appearances for the team.

“Liam has been amazing, honestly,” admitted Bayer.

“What he did is, I think… I have a huge amount of respect for him and his achievements here in the paddock. Zandvoort was probably the worst possible baptism that you can possibly have, you know?

“I mean, raining, the track in Zandvoort was wet then dry, right? It was everything that you possibly would not wish for. Still, he did a very good job.”

Tsunoda has been impressive this season, picking up all of the team’s points so far this season.

It is unlikely that the Japanese driver will find himself without a seat, given his performance for AlphaTauri. However, it remains to be seen if that seat will come with his current team.

Featured Image Credit: GettyImages

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