Christian Horner says he would sign Daniel Ricciardo if he was in charge of Alpine, with the McLaren driver on the market for the 2023 Formula 1 season.
Ricciardo will leave McLaren at the end of this year after two disappointing campaigns at the team, where he has been largely outshone by team-mate Lando Norris.
He will be replaced by Oscar Piastri and is currently looking for a seat on the grid for next year.
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One option is to return to his former team Alpine, who he drove for in 2019 and 2020 following his spell at Red Bull. Fernando Alonso's departure to Aston Martin has made that seat available, although AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly is favourite to take his place.
“It’s a great shame because I think he's a big personality and a great driver,” Horner, who was Ricciardo’s team boss from 2014 to 2018, told the Beyond The Grid podcast.
“Obviously he’s lost his way a bit, but it would be great to see him remain in the sport.
Asked if Alpine should sign Ricciardo, Horner answered: “I think I would. They know him from a couple of seasons ago and they were great together.
“During his last season, they were scoring podiums, and I think he's the type of guy that I think you could rebuild him.
“It's obviously been not a great experience for him, for whatever reason, and you've just got to think back to some of the drives that he did for us.
“Some of the wins that he had, the podium, some of the stunning overtakes that he was capable of. That's still in there, I'm sure. He just needs a bit of a reset.”
Ricciardo was regarded as one of the top drivers on the grid when he left Red Bull for Renault, now called Alpine, in 2019 and was still performing at a high level before he joined McLaren in 2021.
However, aside from his victory at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, he has struggled to adapt to life at McLaren and is fighting to stay on the grid.
Horner believes confidence has been a major reason for the Australian’s downfall over the last two seasons.
“Like in all sports confidence is a big element,” said Horner. “For whatever reason, he hasn't got the feeling from the car across two sets of regulations.
“That probably eats away at his confidence, but there's still a very, very capable driver in there and you don't just forget how to how to deliver.
“I hope for him he gets another opportunity and gets himself back on the grid for next year.”
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