McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stella states he finds Daniel Ricciardo’s return to the Formula 1 grid with AlphaTauri “exciting and interesting”.

Ricciardo has replaced Nyck de Vries for the remainder of the 2023 season at the Red Bull sister squad and is behind the wheel this weekend in Hungary.

The Australian driver left the grid at the end of 2022 following two difficult years with McLaren.

He originally returned to Red Bull in a third driver role before being handed the chance to race again with AlphaTauri.

Ricciardo has outlined that his ultimate goal is to return to Red Bull in the future to finish his F1 career.

Having moved on from Ricciardo following the conclusion of the 2022 campaign, Stella says he is watching the 34-year-old’s return with interest.

“Well, actually, I find it quite exciting and interesting,” he stated. “You know, Daniel is, first of all, one of the most popular drivers. 

“Even when he was not driving, we could see, anytime he was on television, you could hear the crowd cheering, so that’s good news, I think, for Formula 1 in general. 

“We at McLaren, we left with a very good relationship. We love Daniel. So we definitely support him and we wish him all the best.”

Last time out at the British Grand Prix, McLaren secured its first podium of the year through Lando Norris, with the MCL60 showing strong pace throughout the weekend.

Rookie Oscar Piastri also looked to be on course for a podium before the unfavourable timing of a Safety Car shuffled him back to fourth.

Following its outstanding performance at Silverstone, Stella says it will be difficult to replicate the result around the Hungaroring.

“Here in Hungary, I think we are much more realistic, because of the track layout, because it will be a hot Sunday,” Stella said. 

“We’ll see in qualifying what the weather will do. For here in Hungary, we will be happy with being a solid contender for points, which already means that you are in condition to fight Aston Martin, Ferrari, Mercedes, leaving Red Bull alone.

“I hear Franz [Tost] saying ‘we want to be a Q3 contender’, so it’s tough. So, we will be happy to be a solid points contender.”

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