Red Bull boss Christian Horner has indicated that Daniel Ricciardo – who made his return to the F1 grid starting from the Hungarian Grand Prix with the AlphaTauri team – will not be considered for a potential seat at Red Bull straight away.
Daniel Ricciardo returned to Formula 1 just before the summer break, directly replacing Dutchman Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri, and the Australian has clearly stated that he is aiming for a seat at Red Bull in the medium term. This comes as the contract of Sergio Perez expires at the end of the 2024 season, and that of Max Verstappen in 2028.
Sergio Perez’s performances this season have fallen short of his team’s expectations, and after the twelfth round of the year, the Mexican is 125 points behind his teammate Max Verstappen in the championship. This puts Perez under pressure, especially considering that Daniel Ricciardo is eyeing his seat.
Horner talked to Ricciardo about his past decision to leave
Horner has revealed that he has engaged in discussions with Daniel Ricciardo regarding his previous choice to depart from the team. The topic of Ricciardo’s exit from Red Bull resurfaced in a recent conversation between Horner and the Australian driver.
After leaving Red Bull, Ricciardo spent two seasons with Renault, achieving a pair of P3 finishes as his best results. However, he then encountered a challenging two-year period with McLaren, marked by underperformance, which ultimately led to the termination of his contract before its intended conclusion.
Horner: Ricciardo back with the family
While Horner acknowledged that he and Ricciardo have occasionally revisited the subject of his departure from Red Bull, he emphasized that what truly matters now is Ricciardo’s current status within the “family” and his renewed enjoyment of driving.
Responding to a question from ESPN about their discussions, Horner stated, “Occasionally we’ve spoken about it, even when he wasn’t with us. So, look, you can’t turn back the clock. And in life sometimes you make decisions that a few years later, you perhaps you wish you’d taken another path.”
Horner further emphasized that the crucial aspect is Ricciardo’s current situation, saying, “But the most important thing is he’s gotten himself back into a situation where he’s back within the Red Bull family, he’s in a race car and he’s enjoying his driving again.”
Hard lines for Ricciardo about Red Bull drive
However, when asked if Daniel Ricciardo is the future replacement for Sergio Perez and whether he could potentially replace him at Red Bull before the end of the 2024 season for any reason, Christian Horner insisted that the Australian would not be considered before the 2025 season.
“The reason Daniel has found a seat again is not because he aspires to be an AlphaTauri driver for the next five years,” Horner said about Ricciardo.
“You know, he sees this more as the fastest way to regain a competitive seat. And I think you know his goals are clearly to have a Red Bull seat for 2025, as we will obviously have a vacant position.”
“Now, Daniel has the opportunity by the end of the year to demonstrate that he hasn’t lost any of his form. And then, of course, a decision will be made as to whether he will remain in this seat [at AlphaTauri] for another 12 months [for the 2024 season, editor’s note].”
“Obviously, it’s very clear that the AlphaTauri drivers are placed there to develop them as potential candidates for Red Bull Racing, and Daniel is very aware of that, and that’s his goal, but it cannot be before 2025.”
In other words, Sergio Perez seems almost certain to continue his journey with Red Bull until the end of his current contract, which expires at the end of the 2024 season.
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 31, 2023