F1 news 2023: Daniel Ricciardo signs contract extension with AlphaTauri for 2024 alongside Yuki Tsunoda

Daniel Ricciardo has locked in a contract extension with Red Bull sister team AlphaTauri for the 2024 Formula One World Championship, alongside Japanese driver Yuki Tsunoda.

It comes amid a year of contract speculation for the Australian, with the 34-year-old previously without a drive for 2024 and with Red Bull’s second driver, Mexican Sergio Perez, struggling alongside imminent triple World Champion, Max Verstappen.

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The powerhouse team’s Italian sister squad, AlphaTauri, was where Ricciardo got his full-time start in Formula One back in 2012, and was also how Ricciardo returned to the grid earlier this year after a short sabbatical serving as a reserve for Red Bull.

Ricciardo said he was “stoked” to be continuing on the grid alongside Tsunoda.

“I’m stoked to be driving with Yuki again next year and continuing the journey with Scuderia AlphaTauri,” Ricciardo said in a statement.

“Following the progress we have already made and the plans for the future, it’s an exciting time for the Team. We are building and it is a great feeling. There is a lot of work to do, but we are heading in the right direction and there is a lot to look forward to. Bring on 2024!”

AlphaTauri said Ricciardo was an asset to the team.

“His personal attitude and racing experience will be precious assets in 2024,” the team said.

Team principal Franz Tost said Ricciardo’s experience alongside Tsunoda’s development gave the team a “competitive” pairing for next season.

“Next year, the technical regulations remain largely unchanged,” Tost said.

“It was therefore logical to go for continuity in our driver line-up too.

“I am very pleased with the development that Yuki has shown over the last two and a half years with our team and with Daniel’s great race-winning experience we will have one of the most competitive driver pairings on the grid in 2024.”

AlphaTauri CEO Peter Bayer said Ricciardo’s racecraft was key to the re-signing.

“We are in a privileged position, where we have access to multiple great talents from the Red Bull world,” Bayer said.

“This is a credit to the work that Dr. Marko has been doing for many years. Both Daniel and Yuki have not just shown fantastic race craft but are also great global ambassadors for our team and our sport.”

New Zealander Liam Lawson, who has recently filled in for Ricciardo as he recovers from a broken hand sustained during the Dutch Grand Prix, continues in his reserve role, despite having finished ahead of Tsunoda in three races so far this season.

The news comes amid rampant contract speculation over the course of the year – Ricciardo has become somewhat of a Formula One journeyman since departing Red Bull in search of greener pastures from under the shadow of a rising Max Verstappen in 2018, culminating in a brutal axing from McLaren at the end of 2022.

Rumours of a return to Red Bull’s senior team ran rampant with Ricciardo waiting in the wings as the team’s reserve for 2023, with Sergio Perez struggling.

However, when floundering Dutchman Nyck de Vries was let go by AlphaTauri ahead of this year’s Hungarian Grand Prix, Ricciardo was the man to step up over the team’s incumbent reserve driver in Lawson.

The two teams historically have shared as many resources as possible as part of a relationship that dates back to 2005 with Red Bull buying out the then-Jaguar and Minardi F1 teams.

Jaguar Racing went on to be known as Red Bull Racing and was based in Milton Keynes, north-west of London, while Minardi became known first as Toro Rosso, before rebranding to AlphaTauri in 2020.

Drivers consistently start their Red Bull journey in Formula One racing for the junior team before graduating to the senior team – as well as Ricciardo, both of Red Bull’s World Champions in Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel started in the junior squad first.

Ricciardo is expected to miss more races with his injured hand, with AlphaTauri head of trackside engineering Jonathan Eddolls confirming the Australian is still “a while away”, with the team not wanting to “put a target on it”.

“The recovery is going well,” Eddolls told The Race.

“We’ve got some simulator work planned before a return.

“From our side and his side, there’s no rush to get him back too early.

“The worst thing would be to come back before it is properly healed and cause any issues.”

Ricciardo is reported to complete that simulator work ahead of the Qatar Grand Prix in the second weekend of October, which could see him return at his second home, Texas’ Circuit of the Americas for the United States Grand Prix.

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