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The 2023 Formula 1 season finale in Abu Dhabi was quite an interesting race for a myriad of reasons. Despite a predictable win for Max Verstappen, emotions ran high at the AlphaTauri camp in the bid to claim P7 in the Constructor’s battle. However, Yuki Tsunoda’s battle to help his team seal that spot was thwarted by a slip-up in strategy, leading to a public critique from the team principal, Franz Tost. But amidst all the disappointment, Daniel Ricciardo brightened his departing team boss’ day.

In a Formula 1 career spanning 23 years, Tost spent the first five years of his tenure with Williams. In 2005, when Red Bull acquired Minardi to become Toro Rosso, the Austrian team boss shifted there. And until the end of the 2023 season, he gave the team everything, helping shape young talents like Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen into future world champions. And, of course, Daniel Ricciardo himself. As Tost’s final race weekend came to a close, though, he was left with a bittersweet feeling.

Daniel Ricciardo bids a heartfelt farewell to his disappointed team boss

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Having qualified an impressive sixth, hopes were pinned on Yuki Tsunoda to help AlphaTauri leapfrog Williams in the championship standings. However, the race didn’t unfold as planned. In the closing stages, the 23-year-old Japanese driver lost ground to Fernando Alonso. Crossing the line in P8, Tsunoda and AlphaTauri fell three points short of Williams. With the disappointment of failing to claim P7, Franz Tost didn’t hold back in his assessment of the team’s decisions. “I’m p**sed because we were too stupid to choose a correct strategy,” Tost declared in a candid interview with Sky Deutschland.

“I had a lot of discussions on the pit wall because I said, bring Yuki in, we’re closed slowly.” Franz Tost expressed his frustration, pinpointing what he believed to be a critical error in race strategy. “I was told that it would work out. It’s pure arithmetic. I actually realized straight away that it probably wouldn’t work out… We messed it up because the technicians who sit in front of the computer for hours couldn’t figure out a strategy that would ultimately work.”

Despite the public rebuke and the disappointment of the Abu Dhabi GP, Ricciardo chose a moment of celebration and gratitude for Tost’s 23-year Formula 1 career. The Honey Badger wrote on LinkedIn, “2023. A unique year! But I found what I was looking for and I’m very happy for that. When the racing was done we celebrated Franz – his contribution to the team over the years and his pure passion for the sport is something that can only be admired. Thank you, Franz!”

READ MORE: Right Before Retiring, Franz Tost Reveals Tiresome Yet Inspiring Story of AlphaTauri’s Revival

Franz Tost played a crucial role in Ricciardo’s F1 career, including welcoming him back to AlphaTauri mid-season. Set to be a full-time driver from the get-go in 2024, Ricciardo has his sights on returning to the senior Red Bull team alongside his former Dutch teammate.

Daniel Ricciardo hopes for a return to Red Bull Racing in 2025

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Set to start the 2024 season in his current Alpha Tauri seat, the Aussie openly admits that a return to Red Bull is the target for his current stint in F1. While acknowledging that it’s far from guaranteed, he sees the upcoming season as an opportunity to throw his hat into the ring for the seat alongside Max Verstappen. The dynamics within Red Bull Racing are also poised for a shift, with Sergio Perez entering the final year of his contract in 2024.

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Daniel Ricciardo and several other drivers will likely audition for a place with Red Bull in 2025, setting the stage for an intriguing driver market shift in the upcoming season. However, if he cannot get the Red Bull drive, he is more than happy to stay where he currently is. “I’m definitely here to stay, and I want to stay in the Red Bull family – being back here, it just feels very right for me,” Ricciardo told Mirror Sport.

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The driver market, always a hotbed of speculation, promises to keep fans on the edge of their seats throughout the 2024 season.

Watch This Story | Daniel Ricciardo faces Red Bull prodigy threat in F1 return

Written by

Veerendra Vikram Singh

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"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking." Hi there, I am Veer and I come from a family that lives and breathes football, but somehow I never could fit into that mold.
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Edited by

Aditi Krishnan