Daniel Ricciardo to drive RB19 as Red Bull ‘evaluate’ signing him for 2024

Key advisor Helmut Marko has confirmed Red Bull will evaluate Daniel Ricciardo's performance behind the wheel of the RB19 at an upcoming race weekend.

Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo is poised to make a return to track action with Red Bull as team motorsport advisor Helmut Marko confirmed that Ricciardo would take the wheel of the RB19 at the upcoming British Grand Prix at Silverstone to “evaluate” his pace.

“We will have Ricciardo in the car for three days after Silverstone at the tyre test, and then you can evaluate where Ricciardo really stands,” Marko stated.

Ricciardo, who rose through the ranks with Red Bull, has dutifully served as a reserve driver for the team throughout 2023. 

His responsibilities have included working in the simulator and fulfilling media duties on behalf of the team.

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 After leaving Red Bull in 2019 to escape the shadow of emerging talent Max Verstappen, Ricciardo spent two years each at Renault and McLaren before being unceremoniously replaced last year by Australian rookie Oscar Piastri.

Refusing to sign with a backmarker team, Ricciardo decided to forego the 2023 season and instead returned to Red Bull as a reserve driver.

Since then, he has expressed his eagerness to make a comeback in the sport. 

The Silverstone test has been planned for quite some time, and Ricciardo previously mentioned that he viewed it as an opportunity to remind the grid of his capabilities.

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“I’ve been in the simulator, but I will drive the RB19 (for the first time) in July after the Silverstone race,” Ricciardo revealed in an earlier interview with ESPN.

“Then maybe I’ll get another one after Monza as well in September. 

“I’m certainly excited to drive a fast car, but also a car that maybe still feels familiar to me – it does a little bit in the sim. 

“But I’m just excited to drive again and to just try to remind a team obviously I once had a lot of success with that I can still turn a fast lap.”

Ricciardo’s track return comes as Max Verstappen extends his lead in the Drivers’ Championship, currently holding a 69-point advantage over his teammate Sergio Perez. 

The Mexican driver has struggled to match Verstappen’s pace throughout the year, often encountering mechanical issues when he does. 

READ: Lewis Hamilton gives assessment of Max Verstappen’s ‘rear end’

With Perez in his third season as a Red Bull driver and appearing to be the latest casualty in the revolving door of drivers unable to harmonise with the divisive Verstappen as a teammate, Marko emphasised the team’s focus on the future while prioritizing the two-time World Champion Dutchman.

“We have only one Max (Verstappen),” Marko emphasised.

“(Perez’) initial target was two, three years, which would be more than he planned anyway, and you just have to keep options open for the succession,” he added.