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 properly at Eurovision, and I by no means thought I’d agree with one thing Christian Horner stated. It might seem the instances, they’re a-altering.
That’s as a result of whereas residing and dealing in New York, I at present discovered myself nodding together with one thing Crimson Bull crew boss Christian Horner was saying in an interview. This is similar Christian Horner who got here out with such quips as:
“I don’t must go to dinner with Toto. I don’t must kiss his ass or something like that. There’s a number of different crew rules which may.”
It’s additionally the identical man who loves speaking about his “plucky little vitality drink” maker when referencing a $15 billion firm. Enjoyable reality, Crimson Bull is price greater than Williams, Aston Martin, Haas and Renault, which owns the Alpine F1 Workforce, mixed.
So what’s modified? Why is F1’s most vocal crew supervisor instantly speaking sense? Properly, it’s all to do with the long run prospects of one among his crew’s former drivers, Daniel Ricciardo.
In case you’ve been residing beneath a rock for the previous few weeks, Components 1’s annual recreation 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 rapidly pounced on by Fernando Alonso, who introduced he was leaving French crew Alpine.
Then, issues went into overdrive when Alpine stated 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 crew.
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 dealing with the true chance of a 12 months on the sidelines. In the course of the present, host Tom Clarkson requested Horner if he was in cost at Alpine, would he signal Ricciardo to the crew? In accordance with The Categorical, Horner replied:
“I feel I most likely would to be sincere 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 feel he’s the kind of man that, I feel you could possibly rebuild him.
“It’s clearly not been a fantastic expertise for him [at McLaren] for no matter cause however you simply must assume again to a number of the drives that he did for us, a number of the wins he had, the podiums, a number of 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 bought a tender spot for Ricciardo, however as a result of I genuinely assume he can be a superb match for the crew.
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 Crimson 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 automobiles on the grid had been quicker than his. What’s extra, he outclassed teammate Nico Hülkenberg, who had been with Renault since 2017.
Then, as soon as Ricciardo bought into his stride with the squad in 2020, he picked up two podiums and completed the season in fifth with nearly double the factors of his new companion, Esteban Ocon.
And positive, the following years with McLaren haven’t gone in addition to Ricciardo might need hoped, however he’s nonetheless the primary McLaren driver to win a race since Lewis Hamilton again in 2012.
So sure, Horner is true to say that Alpine ought to significantly contemplate re-signing the 33-year-old Australian. Particularly when the opposite choices seem like ex-Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi, Mercedes Components 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 a complete different weblog.
However don’t fear: shortly after popping out in help of Ricciardo, Horner was again to his batshit Mercedes/Lewis Hamilton bashing methods afterward within the interview. I suppose concord within the universe has been restored.