‘Bit of a problem’: Red Bull comment on Daniel Ricciardo replacing Sergio Perez in 2023

Daniel Ricciardo is targeting a return to Formula 1 in 2024, following a season of being Red Bull's development driver.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has confirmed that development driver Daniel Ricciardo “absolutely” won’t be used in any other role, with the Australian set for a year of testing programmes and marketing campaigns.

It had been questioned when Ricciardo’s return to Red Bull was announced if he’d put pressure on Sergio Pérez for the second seat at Red Bull, given that the Aussie is targeting a 2024 seat.

Checo’s contract isn’t actually set to expire until the end of 2024; however, should tensions remain between the Mexican and Max Verstappen, then the Austrians may intervene.

For now, though, Ricciardo is on marketing duties, with advisor Dr Helmut Marko having revealed that the 33-year-old is currently settling in well.

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“Very well,” Marko told Sport1.

“He’s already had great PR events for Red Bull, which was one of the reasons why we brought him back.”

Other than testing and marketing work, Ricciardo will fill the role of reserve driver when Red Bull Junior driver Liam Lawson is unavailable, due to competing in Super Formula.

That is all, though, he’ll be up to, with Horner stressing that the team have “no other plans” for the former McLaren driver.

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“I think Daniel has lost his love for Formula 1 a bit after a few difficult seasons,” Horner told Algemeen Dagblad newspaper.

“I hope he finds that passion again with us, but we have absolutely no other plans than to use him for numerous test programs and commercial activities. He will have a busy schedule in 2023,” he added.

Given that he won’t be getting much running in the team’s 2023 challenger, it has been wondered how the team will evaluate his performance this season.

The most important thing for Ricciardo this season, though, is re-finding himself and his love for Formula 1, with the eight-time race winner having appeared lost last season.

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Marko is unsure what the Aussie is currently missing but that it might be discovered after “one or two tyre tests”, where his driving ability will become clearer to the team.

“It’s difficult to judge from a distance what was missing,” Marko added.

“He’s had a bit of a problem but he’ll definitely be doing one or two tyre tests for us soon so we’ll see things more clearly after that.”