Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has addressed the future of development driver Daniel Ricciardo, who’ll be driving the dominant RB19 for the first-time this week.
Following Max Verstappen’s eighth win of the season at the British Grand Prix on Sunday, Ricciardo will be taking part in a Pirelli tyre test at the Silverstone International Circuit this week.
The test will prove whether the eight-time race winner still boasts good enough pace to be on the F1 grid, something he’s targeting for next season.
With Nyck de Vries coming under increasing pressure though, it’s already been speculated that the fan favourite could replace the Dutch driver at AlphaTauri mid-season.
Whilst Ricciardo would openly accept a seat at Red Bull’s sister team, his ultimate goal is to end his F1 career with the Milton Keynes-based team, where he enjoyed so much success.
Horner though, has downplayed the chances of this happening, by admitting that the Austrians aren’t “planning” on offering a Red Bull seat to Ricciardo.
“It’s not something that we’re planning, that’s for certain,” Horner told media following Verstappen’s win.
“So it was right to give him the opportunity this year to remain within the team and keep him around the sport.
“I think it would have been a loss to the sport for him just to disappear and I think that I didn’t recognise the Daniel of the last couple of years so I’ll be very interested to see what kind of job he does on Tuesday.”
Whilst it’s unlikely then that Ricciardo will ever race for Red Bull again, his performance in this week’s test will be watched very closely.
Should he perform to a high standard, then his chances of finding a seat for 2024 will presumably increase dramatically, with Horner openly admitting that the test will offer a chance to see where Ricciardo is at “both on pace and mentally”.
“It’s an important test for Pirelli but it’s also going to be great to see him back in a Red Bull car and see what he can do,” Horner said.
“Where he’s at, both on pace and mentally, physically and to get his feedback on this car as well.
“So I think it’s a good opportunity for him to get back behind the wheel of a car that’s just won the British Grand Prix.”