Ricciardo and Tsunoda remain at Alpha Tauri in 2024

Ricciardo and Tsunoda remain at Alpha Tauri in 2024


Tsunoda and Ricciardo
The Japanese Grand Prix is live on 5 Live and the BBC Sport website

Daniel Ricciardo has retained his seat at Red Bull’s Alpha Tauri team next year alongside Yuki Tsunoda following his return to Formula 1 this season.

The move comes despite impressive performances from New Zealander Liam Lawson as a stand-in for Ricciardo after he broke his hand last month.

Lawson has already done more races for Alpha Tauri this year than Ricciardo.

But Red Bull stuck with the 34-year-old Australian’s experience alongside Tsunoda and retain Lawson as reserve.

Alpha Tauri team principal Franz Tost, who is retiring at the end of this season, said it was “logical” to retain Ricciardo.

Tost said: “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.”

Ricciardo, who was dropped by McLaren a year before the end of his contract last season and started this year as Red Bull reserve driver, returned to a race seat after Alpha Tauri lost faith in Dutch rookie Nyck de Vries before the halfway point of this season.

Ricciardo took over from De Vries at the Hungarian Grand Prix, but raced only there and in Belgium, finishing 13th and 16th, before sustaining his injury in Friday practice for the Dutch Grand Prix at the end of August.

Lawson stepped in for him for the remainder of that that weekend and has also raced in Italy, Singapore and this weekend in Japan. He scored his first points with ninth place at Marina Bay last weekend.

Tost said: “Liam has impressed everyone in his races so far, he will definitely help the team in his development role as a third driver, and I’m sure he will have a future in Formula 1 soon.”

There is still no date for Ricciardo’s return. Alpha Tauri head of trackside engineering Jonathan Eddolls said at the Japanese Grand Prix that Ricciardo would try out in the team’s simulator before a decision was made.

“The recovery is going well,” Eddolls said. “There’s no rush to get him back too early. The worst thing would be to come back before it’s properly healed and cause any issues.”

A new reserve for McLaren

Elsewhere on the grid, McLaren have signed Japanese Le Mans winner Rio Hirawaka as an F1 reserve driver and part of their driver development programme.

The 29-year-old is signed by Toyota, for whom he won won the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2022.

McLaren, who already have deals with Mercedes and Aston Martin to share reserve drivers in the case of a race driver being incapacitated, said they wanted to expand their reserve pool to provide extra cover.

The team are expected to add their Indycar driver Pato O’Ward to their reserve group once the Mexican secures his F1 licence.

Hirawaka’s appointment is also linked to McLaren’s relationship with Toyota, whose wind tunnel in Cologne they have been using for the last couple of decades.

McLaren have recently completed a new simulator at their factory in the UK and are phasing out their use of the Toyota facility.


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