Red Bull to evaluate Ricciardo and “keep options open” for 2024

Jaden Diaz
24 Jun, 2023

After a relatively strong start to the year, a combination of unforced errors and lack of performance has put the spotlight on Red Bull’s Sergio Perez. Amidst this difficult patch, 8-time race winner Daniel Ricciardo makes no secret of his search for an F1 seat. 

Perez began the 2023 campaign with a series of consistent results, capitalising on Max Verstappen’s misfortunes in Saudi Arabia and Miami to secure two race victories.

With that said, the relentlessness of Verstappen has taken its toll on the Mexican driver – as evidenced by the almost 80-point gap between the teammates in the standings.

Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo appears enthusiastic about making an F1 comeback. He describes Red Bull as the “ideal” team to end his career with.

With that said, the Australian accepts that it may be necessary to spend time in the midfield before working his way back to the front of the field.

MIAMI, FLORIDA – MAY 05: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Oracle Red Bull Racing looks on from the pitwall during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Miami at Miami International Autodrome on May 05, 2023 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202305050851 // Usage for editorial use only //

It must be stressed that both Helmut Marko and Christian Horner have dismissed suggestions that Perez will be replaced, so no change is imminent at Red Bull.

Despite this support, Helmut Marko has outlined that Red Bull will be evaluating Ricciardo at an upcoming series of tests days this summer:

“After Silverstone, we will have Ricciardo in the car for three days at a Pirelli tyre test,” he told the Austrian outlet ORF.

“And there we can evaluate: Where really [in terms of pace] is Ricciardo?”

Speaking specifically about Sergio Perez’s future, Marko was unapologetic about Red Bull assessing all its options:

“His initial goal was two or three years. That would be more than he planned anyway. 

“You just have to keep the options open for the successor.”

Considering that Max Verstappen individually has more points than Mercedes or Aston Martin, it is clear that the reigning constructor’s Champions will not be under any threat in 2023.

Even in Red Bull is not dominant in the second half of the season, securing first place in the standings seems little more than a formality at this stage.

However, Perez’s performances have been below par in recent weeks – allowing Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton to get within striking distance of his points tally.

This does not necessarily jeopardise the 33-year-old’s seat, but Red Bull has never been shy about making drastic changes if they are deemed necessary.

Ricciardo’s tests later this year, though encouraging, do not guarantee he will secure a return to Formula 1 – let alone with Red Bull.

Still, the 8-time race winner is one of the alternatives that Red Bull could consider if Sergio Perez fails to rectify his current difficulties.

Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang

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