Ricciardo could be back in F1 as driver given ‘three races’ to save job

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Daniel Ricciardo could return to F1 within weeks after Helmut Marko handed an ultimatum to AlphaTauri’s Nyck de Vries, according to reports. Motorsport.com claims Marko is disappointed in the performances of De Vries since he was handed a full-time F1 seat.

The Dutchman apparently has been handed the next three races – Emilia Romagna, Monaco and Spain – to start picking up points otherwise he could be booted out. Ahead of the new season, Marko had tipped De Vries to become AlphaTauri’s team leader despite only completing one race start.

The ex-Formula E champion was expected to be quicker than Yuki Tsunonda but the Japanese star’s stock has risen with a string of impressive results. Speaking last October, Marko said: “Yuki is young and does not have the background and experience that Nyck has.

“We will see how it goes next year, but looking at his experience and his personality, then De Vries has to become the team leader of AlphaTauri.”

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But he could lose his seat next month if he does not improve. Ricciardo would then replace him in a full-time race seat a year earlier than he initially planned.

The 33-year-old last competed for Red Bull’s junior team back in 2013 when it was known as Toro Rosso, replacing the departing Sebastian Vettel.

It comes days after the Australian confirmed he will get behind the wheel of the Red Bull RB19 for the first time. He is scheduled to complete Pirelli tests at Silverstone and even stressed he would use the run to prove a point to team bosses.

He said: “I’m going to jump in the car in July, so only a couple of months away. I’ll get back behind the wheel. I’m sure that will also really stimulate me and give me all those feels back.

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“Naturally, I’m going to try and put a bit of pressure on myself for that and I guess remind the team I can still do it and see how it goes.” The new rumours come just months after Red Bull team principal Christian Horner confirmed the team had “no plans” to hand Ricciardo a race seat.

He commented: “Daniel will rediscover his passion for Formula One, but we certainly have no plans to utilise him other than in that third driver role, to combine with the commercial activities that he will be performing.”

Red Bull could be tempted to promote one of their junior drivers with Liam Lawson currently competing in Super Formula. They also have a string of F2 stars including Jak Crawford, Enzo Fittipaldi, Isack Hadjar and Dennis Hauger at their disposal.

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