F1 News | Verstappen open to Ricciardo return: “I never wanted him to leave”

Jaden Diaz
20 Jul, 2023

Max Verstappen reveals he would be happy to drive alongside Daniel Ricciardo, with the reigning Champion welcoming his former team-mate’s return. The final decision on the Dutchman’s 2024 teammate is set to dominate F1 news for the remainder of the season.

Plenty of noise has surrounded Ricciardo’s return to Formula 1, with Red Bull taking the decision to give the 8-time race winner a chance at AlphaTauri.

In several interviews over the past 8 months, the 34-year-old has spoken honestly about his intentions to compete in F1 – always making clear that his aim was a return with a top team.

More specifically, Ricciardo has said that Red Bull would be the dream destination.

Combining Ricciardo’s personal motivations with the recent poor performances from Sergio Perez, it seems clear that Red Bull are evaluating their options ahead of 2024.

This is not to say Perez is guaranteed to be replaced, but it seems clear that Helmut Marko’s long-term plan is not to have an F1 veteran in a team intended for juniors.

The improvements of rivals such as Aston Martin and McLaren are evidence that Red Bull’s advantage could easily evaporate over the winter, and so it is crucial the Austrian squad has teammates competing at the same level.

It is ironic that Ricciardo now returns to AlphaTauri in search for a Red Bull seat, given that the Austrian squad has struggled to find a replacement since his departure in 2018.

As speculation continues, Max Verstappen made no secret of his admiration for his ex-teammate:

“I would be ready to team up again with Ricciardo.

“We know that we get on very well, if Daniel does well where he is now, then of course he has the opportunity to go back up, so it is all open”, the Dutchman told the media in Hungary.

It must be stressed that nothing is set in stone for 2024, and there is no guarantee Ricciardo will out-perform the steadily improving Yuki Tsunoda.

However, the last few months have shown that Red Bull are not afraid to be ruthless when making decision on their drivers.

With this in mind, nothing is off the table as the story of 2023 continues.

 

Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang

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