Christian Horner makes admission about Daniel Ricciardo taking Sergio Perez’s seat

Daniel Ricciardo will return to the grid at the 2023 Hungarian GP this weekend for AlphaTauri.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has confirmed that Daniel Ricciardo “firmly wants” Sergio Perez’s Red Bull seat in 2025, with the Aussie supposedly seeing his return to AlphaTauri as the “best route” back to the main fold.

It was confirmed last Tuesday following a Pirelli tyre test at the Silverstone International Circuit that Ricciardo will be completing the remainder of the 2023 season for AlphaTauri, following the abrupt sacking of Nyck de Vries.

The rookie has sensationally been dropped by the Red Bull family after just 10 races, with Ricciardo now having a chance to stake his claim for Perez’s seat.

Ricciardo has stated that returning to Red Bull is his goal, with Horner admitting that he’s aware of the 34-year-old’s target.

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Should the eight-time race winner perform well for AlphaTauri, then he’ll certainly give the Austrians something to consider, especially if Perez’s struggles continue.

It seems that Red Bull are keen to honour Perez’s deal though, which expires at the end of 2024.

This means a seat is currently available at the Milton Keynes-based team in 2025, a drive which is Ricciardo’s “golden objective”.

“At the moment there’s only something in place until the end of the season,” Horner told the F1 Beyond the Grid podcast. “So there’s no thoughts or expectations beyond that.

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“We’ve loaned him to AlphaTauri to the end of the year. Obviously, our drivers are going to be Max and Checo again next year. But it’s always good to have talent in reserve.

“I think Daniel is viewing AlphaTauri, he firmly wants to be pitching for that 2025 Red Bull seat. That’s his golden objective. And by going to AlphaTauri, I think he sees that as his best route of stating his case for 2025.”

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Ricciardo took part in the Pirelli tyre test which happened moments before De Vries’ sacking, with the Australian’s performance having “impressed” Horner.

Whilst driving the RB19 for the first time, Ricciardo was able to lap incredibly closely to both Perez and Max Verstappen, something which the Austrians have seemingly taken notice of.

“What impressed me the most when I went up to have a look at the test was, bearing in mind he hasn’t driven this car, hadn’t been in a car for seven months, within his third or fourth lap he was down to a time that was within a second of what our drivers were achieving,” Horner revealed.