Christian Horner’s remarks about Daniel Ricciardo’s plan should worry Sergio Perez

Daniel Ricciardo is pushing for a return to Red Bull in 2025, something Christian Horner is aware of.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has admitted that he knows Daniel Ricciardo’s “golden objective” is to rejoin the side he left at the end of 2018, something the Australian has described as a “fairytale”.

Following an aborted sabbatical as Red Bull’s development driver, Ricciardo returns to the grid at this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, after being confirmed as Nyck de Vries’ replacement.

The 34-year-old will complete the remainder of the 2023 season for AlphaTauri, with it having been announced last Tuesday that the rookie had been sacked after just 10 races.

Ricciardo last raced for the Faenza-based team back in 2013 when they were known as Toro Rosso, with much having changed at the side.

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To start with, AlphaTauri currently possess arguably the worst car on the grid, something which worked against De Vries.

The AT04 is without question worse than the car Ricciardo drove at McLaren last season, which saw him leave the Woking-based team and opt for a break from F1.

Ricciardo is taking a huge gamble in accepting the AlphaTauri seat but performing well for the side could be his ticket back to Red Bull.

A good performance alongside Yuki Tsunoda will give the Austrians something to think about, especially if Sergio Perez continues to struggle.

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Red Bull appear to be keen on honouring Perez’s contract which expires at the end of 2024, before his seat becomes available in 2025.

Horner knows that Ricciardo is targeting the seat and that he’s “pitching” for it, with the team boss believing that the driver sees AlphaTauri as his “best route” back.

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

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

“I think Daniel is viewing [his time at] AlphaTauri, [that] 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.”