Christian Horner on Daniel Ricciardo joining Red Bull in 2023 or 2024

It has been reported that Daniel Ricciardo will replace Sergio Perez at Red Bull before the end of 2023.

Christian Horner, the Red Bull team principal, has reacted to Daniel Ricciardo’s request to race for Red Bull before 2025.

The Australian drove for Red Bull from 2014-2018, and he has voiced his “dream” to get back in a Red Bull seat.

Ricciardo had said he still has “unfinished business” with Red Bull, and wanted to remind them that he “can still do it.”

Ricciardo began the year as Red Bull’s reserve driver, but he ended up driving competitively at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

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This followed his ousting of Nyck de Vries from the Red Bull-owned AlphaTauri team.

As AlphaTauri is dead last in the Constructor Championship, it is safe to assume Ricciardo is not planning on a long-term career with them.

Ricciardo is aware that the AlphaTauri team is built to serve as a developing ground for promising Red Bull candidates. 

Ricciardo was promoted from Toro Rosso, AlphaTauri’s predecessor, to Red Bull back in 2014, so he knows how these promotions work very well.

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Horner understands this, saying: “The reason that Daniel was brought back into the seat is not because he has long-term aspirations to be an AlphaTauri driver.

“He sees it as the quickest route to getting back into a competitive seat, and clearly his objectives are on a 2025 Red Bull Racing seat when we have a vacancy.”

This led to some speculation that Ricciardo may be aiming to replace Sergio Perez in 2024.

The Mexican driver’s performance in 2023 has been subpar, especially compared to his teammate Max Verstappen.

Horner shut down all of these rumours, saying Perez is contracted until the end of 2024, so they would not have a potential vacancy until early 2025.

Horner did, however, indicate that Ricciardo may have a potential career with Red Bull in the future.

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He said: “Daniel has an opportunity between now and the end of the year to demonstrate that he hasn’t lost his form.

“A decision will be made as to whether he remains in that seat for a further 12 months.”

If he manages to prove himself at AlphaTauri until the 2025 vacancy, Ricciardo may well be a strong candidate.