Daniel Ricciardo set for return as Max Verstappen ‘wants’ new team-mate

Max Verstappen wants a new team-mate at Red Bull amid growing tensions between himself and Sergio Perez.

Despite the air between Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez having reportedly been cleared, ex-F1 driver Ralf Schumacher believes the situation could open the door to Daniel Ricciardo, who’s set to sign for the Austrians for 2023.

Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko revealed on Friday at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that they’d signed Ricciardo as a third driver for next season, despite later adding that he hadn’t been signed…

It appears the Austrian has confirmed something that he perhaps wasn’t supposed to confirm, with an official announcement on Ricciardo’s 2023 plan believed to be taking place on Sunday.

Supposedly, Ricciardo will return to Red Bull in 2023 as somewhat of a marketing driver, with the 33-year-old to undertake demo runs and simulator work.

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This is because Liam Lawson is set to take the role of reserve and test driver for 2023, a role that was held by Juri Vips before he was axed by the side for an offensive streaming incident.

Ricciardo has made it perfectly clear that he wants to return to full-time racing in 2024, with Red Bull perhaps a real possibility.

This is due to the tension that was created between Pérez and Verstappen on the final lap at Interagos, after the Dutchman defied team orders.

Whilst everything has returned to normal, according to Checo, Schumacher thinks Verstappen wants a “new” team-mate and that person could be his former partner.

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Schumacher stated to Motorsport-Total that he’s “not 100 percent sure that Pérez will still be his teammate next year.”

“I think Ricciardo has a good chance. It must be behind the scenes very, very aggressive and I think Max wants a new combination.

“Max is the spearhead of Red Bull. The whole future is laid out for him until 2028. In the end, he pulls the coals out of the fire, brings the victories home.

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“Accordingly, I could imagine that because of his contract, he will also win them has the opportunity to have a say in who drives next to him. And I think he prefers Ricciardo there.”

Nothing will change until 2024 due to the Mexican driver being under contract until then, a deal that he signed after claiming victory at the Monaco Grand Prix.

A seat at Red Bull, though, would be the perfect target for Ricciardo, especially as he’s set to spend a whole year getting close to his former side.