There are some things on this world that I by no means thought would occur, I by no means thought I’d reside in New York, I by no means thought the UK would do nicely at Eurovision, and I by no means thought I’d agree with one thing Christian Horner mentioned. It will seem the occasions, they’re a-altering.
That’s as a result of whereas residing and dealing in New York, I at the moment discovered myself nodding together with one thing Pink Bull group boss Christian Horner was saying in an interview. This is similar Christian Horner who got here out with such quips as:
“I don’t have to go to dinner with Toto. I don’t have to kiss his ass or something like that. There’s a couple of different group rules which may.”
It’s additionally the identical man who loves speaking about his “plucky little power drink” maker when referencing a $15 billion firm. Enjoyable reality, Pink Bull is price greater than Williams, Aston Martin, Haas and Renault, which owns the Alpine F1 Staff, mixed.
So what’s modified? Why is F1’s most vocal group supervisor all of a sudden speaking sense? Properly, it’s all to do with the long run prospects of one among his group’s former drivers, Daniel Ricciardo.
In case you’ve been residing below a rock for the previous few weeks, Method 1’s annual sport of musical chairs, which sees groups change out their drivers for the subsequent season, has been fairly hectic this 12 months.
Issues kicked off when four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel introduced he was retiring from F1, which freed up a seat at Aston Martin. This was shortly pounced on by Fernando Alonso, who introduced he was leaving French group Alpine.
Then, issues went into overdrive when Alpine mentioned it had signed F2 champion Oscar Piastra for 2023, just for the younger Australian to say that really, it hadn’t. Piastri was quickly signed by McLaren, which kicked out his fellow Aussie, Ricciardo.
Now, the eight-time race winner is caught and not using a drive for subsequent 12 months and finds himself lurking across the likes of Haas, Williams and Alpine for the ultimate seat within the group.
And that is the place Horner is available in.
Talking on the Past the Grid podcast, Horner was requested about Ricciardo’s prospects now that he’s going through the true risk of a 12 months on the sidelines. Through the present, host Tom Clarkson requested Horner if he was in cost at Alpine, would he signal Ricciardo to the group? In line with The Categorical, Horner replied:
“I believe I most likely would to be trustworthy with you. They clearly know him from a few seasons in the past and he was very collectively throughout his final season there, scoring podiums, and I believe he’s the kind of man that, I believe you possibly can rebuild him.
“It’s clearly not been an excellent expertise for him [at McLaren] for no matter purpose however you simply need to suppose again to among the drives that he did for us, among the wins he had, the podiums, among the gorgeous overtakes he was able to… that’s nonetheless in there I’m positive, he simply wants a little bit of a reset.”
And whereas listening to the Brit say this, I discovered myself nodding alongside. Not as a result of I’ve received a tender spot for Ricciardo, however as a result of I genuinely suppose he can be a great match for the group.
Since his fortunes started to show at McLaren, many within the media have handed off the final 4 years as a failure for the Australian as he walked away from his race-winning methods at Pink Bull. However at Renault, which has since morphed into Alpine, Ricciardo had some spectacular weekends.
In his first 12 months at Renault, Ricciardo peaked with a fourth place end in a 12 months the place six different vehicles on the grid have been sooner than his. What’s extra, he outclassed teammate Nico Hülkenberg, who had been with Renault since 2017.
Then, as soon as Ricciardo received into his stride with the squad in 2020, he picked up two podiums and completed the season in fifth with virtually double the factors of his new associate, Esteban Ocon.
And positive, the following years with McLaren haven’t gone in addition to Ricciardo may need hoped, however he’s nonetheless the primary McLaren driver to win a race since Lewis Hamilton again in 2012.
So sure, Horner is correct to say that Alpine ought to critically think about re-signing the 33-year-old Australian. Particularly when the opposite choices seem like ex-Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi, Mercedes Method E racer Nyck de Vries and IndyCar driver Colton Herta, who doesn’t but have the tremendous license factors required to race In F1. However that’s a travesty for an entire different weblog.
However don’t fear: shortly after popping out in assist of Ricciardo, Horner was again to his batshit Mercedes/Lewis Hamilton bashing methods afterward within the interview. I assume concord within the universe has been restored.