AlphaTauri CEO Peter Bayer has revealed that Red Bull were originally opposed to the idea of Daniel Ricciardo making a mid-season return last year.
Shortly after the British Grand Prix, AlphaTauri announced that Ricciardo would replace Nyck de Vries at the team.
De Vries had been struggling to get up to speed alongside Yuki Tsunoda and was dropped just 10 races into his rookie F1 season.
Ricciardo returned to Red Bull in a third driver role at the end of last year after departing McLaren, bringing an end to a difficult two seasons with the Woking-based squad.
His role back in the Red Bull set-up provided a route back to the grid with AlphaTauri - however Red Bull rejected the idea at first.
“Originally we were told: No, Daniel is a reserve driver at Red Bull and that's how it will stay,” Bayer told motorsport-magazin.
“And then, over the course of a month, we kept asking how things were going.
“At some point, Christian Horner came to us and said: We're doing the test at Silverstone, maybe we'll have a look at it. Then Helmut [Marko] said: Yes, why not?”
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Ricciardo scored a best result of seventh at the Mexico City Grand Prix, with his impact on the team hailed by AlphaTauri.
“Why? Daniel has experience, so he can help us with the setup on all the tracks. Daniel is a real reference for Yuki,” Bayer said.
“He has brought an incredible amount of new energy to the team in just one week. Our mechanics were delighted: hey, wow, something's happening!
“The change wasn't easy, but at the end of the day it had such a positive effect.”
Ricciardo will remain with AlphaTauri this year, once again competing alongside Yuki Tsunoda.