AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost says signing Daniel Ricciardo to the sister Red Bull squad will only be an option if none of its junior drivers are ready.

Ricciardo is seeking a return to F1 in 2024, admitting recently that it would be a “fairytale” to rejoin Red Bull and end his career there.

It was also reported that the Australian would be open to racing for AlphaTauri to facilitate a move back to Red Bull.

However, AlphaTauri, which formerly ran as Toro Rosso, has traditionally been a destination for Red Bull juniors to make their debuts in F1.

Currently, Red Bull has a large number of junior drivers spread across various disciplines waiting to be called up.

Nyck de Vries’ seat is being placed under increased scrutiny amid a difficult opening number of races to 2023 – but Tost asserts that Ricciardo would only be considered if Red Bull’s juniors aren’t ready.

“The philosophy is quite clear – the performance decides,” Tost said when asked if Ricciardo is an appealing option. 

“Of course the team philosophy is to educate young drivers, but if young drivers are not currently there… because there are some good young drivers coming – [Ayumu] Iwasa is doing a good job, [Isack] Hadjar is doing a good job.

“But it is simply a little bit too early for them. I see them sooner or later in our team, but if the time is too early then maybe we have to find another solution. 

“But this has not been discussed so far. So far everything is like it is with our team.”

Another option for AlphaTauri and currently believed to be the favourite for the drive should it become available is Liam Lawson.

The New Zealander has tested F1 machinery before and is currently in the championship fight in the Super Formula category in Japan.

“Liam has done a good job when he was driving for us last year in Abu Dhabi,” Tost said.

“And he is currently also doing a good job in Japan because it’s quite a tough championship over there. And as I said before, it’s a performance question.

“We have to find out, we have to see which driver is first of all available and matured enough and educated enough and ready to go for an F1 car. This we will see. Currently nothing has been decided.”

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