“Is Daniel Ricciardo back?” – that is the question on the minds of everyone in the F1 paddock after the AlphaTauri driver produced a brilliant P7 at the Mexican GP. It was a massive result for the Faenza-based squad – and may also increase the pressure on a driver in the sister team…
After a low-key return from injury in Austin, Ricciardo and Alphatauri were extremely competitive at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. A fantastic qualifying saw the Australian put his car P4 on the grid – ahead of both Mercedes and even Sergio Perez in the Red Bull.
Ricciardo then showed good race pace during his first stint. He ran fifth and looked like he could finish there until Kevin Magnussen’s big crash brought out a red flag.
“The Honey Badger” lost a couple of places following the restart to George Russell and a marauding Lando Norris. However, he still managed a P7, bringing home AlphaTauri’s best result this year.
These points could be huge for the “junior” Red Bull outfit.
Daniel Ricciardo: How Mexican GP result could score AlphaTauri millions of $
Ricciardo’s P7 enabled his current team to leapfrog Alfa Romeo and Haas into eighth in the Constructors. So, not only is this a significant confidence boost, but AlphaTauri could also net a huge increase in prize money.
But just how much could this be? Well, per Autosport, teams’ prize money is approximately 50% of Formula 1’s annual income – or about $1 billion. This total is distributed in decreasing percentages among the ten teams.
So, first gets the most, then second, and so on in lower amounts.
Therefore, the difference in prize money between tenth (last) in the constructors and eighth could be tens of millions of dollars. In fact, during Sky Sports’ broadcast of the Mexican GP, Karun Chandhok suggested that this leapfrog in the standings could even be worth $20 million.
In other words, Daniel Ricciardo might have earned AlphaTauri a lot of money with his Mexican GP heroics. Contrastingly, local hero Sergio Perez had a race to forget on home soil.
Sergio Perez: home race DNF could spell further pressure
Perez’s home Grand Prix was over after one corner on Sunday. The No.11 Red Bull got off to a great start from fifth, slipstreaming the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc and even getting ahead of him. However, when Perez attempted to sweep around the outside, he hit the Ferrari, causing terminal damage to his RB19.
A dejected home crowd had seen their favourite driver exit the race almost immediately. But even they were not as despondent as Perez. With Ricciardo out-qualifying him in an inferior car, is there even more pressure on the Mexican?
Previously, Team Principal Christian Horner has insisted that Perez will be a Red Bull driver in 2024. Despite this, many rumours have circulated in the paddock that Checo could still lose his seat.
For instance, Red Bull may cut him if Perez fails to finish P2 in the championship. Alternatively, if Daniel Ricciardo continues to perform at the levels shown in the Mexican GP, will they consider a switch?
The right players within the reigning Constructors champs are still backing Sergio Perez. He will still be wary of the threat coming from the sister team, though. Thankfully, Perez also has an immediate chance to bounce back by getting a positive result from this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
Featured image credit: Getty