Christian Horner rooting for ‘great driver’ Daniel Ricciardo as F1 hopes recede

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has expressed his sympathy for Daniel Ricciardo as the ex-Red Bull star’s hopes of staying on the F1 grid continue to recede.

Ricciardo, who made the shock decision to quit Red Bull for Renault in 2018, has endured a nightmare two years with McLaren. Aside from his surprise win at last year’s Italian Grand Prix, the Australian has been comprehensively outperformed by Lando Norris.

As a result, McLaren opted to pay Ricciardo off a year before the end of his contract and replace him with Oscar Piastri from 2023. The 33-year-old’s hopes of securing a place on the grid for 2023 look bleak.

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Alpine, Haas and Williams, who all have seats available, are looking at other drivers. Ricciardo is open to taking on a reserve driver role and has been linked with Mercedes.

Horner bears no hard feelings towards Ricciardo following his decision to quit Red Bull. On contrary, as Horner believes the eight-time Grand Prix winner still has plenty to offer.

“It’s a great shame because he’s a big personality and a great, great driver. He’s obviously lost his way a bit, but it would be great to see him remain in the sport,” he told F1’s Beyond The Grid podcast.

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Asked if he would re-hire Ricciardo if he was in charge at Renault-backed Alpine, Horner replied: “I think I probably would. They obviously know him from a couple of seasons ago. He was very together during his last season there, scoring podiums.

“He’s the type of guy… you could rebuild him. It’s obviously not been a great experience for him for whatever reason and you’ve just got to think back to some of the drives he did for us, some of the wins he had, the podiums, some of the stunning overtakes that he was capable of. That’s still in there, I’m sure. He just needs a bit of a reset.”

Horner added: “Like in all sports, confidence is a big element and, for whatever reason, he hasn’t got the feeling from the car across two sets of regulations and that has probably eked away at his confidence but there’s still a very capable driver in there.

“You don’t just forget how to deliver. I hope he gets another opportunity and gets himself back on the grid for next year.”

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