Helmut Marko reveals truth behind Daniel Ricciardo replacing Sergio Perez

Dr Helmut Marko has insisted that his comments regarding Daniel Ricciardo's tyre test with Red Bull in July were “taken out of context.” 

Red Bull team adviser Dr Helmut Marko spoke to media sources last week and indicated that the team was preparing a “succession” – with Daniel Ricciardo reportedly poised to take over from an out-of-form Sergio Perez.

Marko stated that Ricciardo would be taking the wheel of the RB19 from July, saying: “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 continued: “His initial target was two, three years… you just have to keep options open for the succession.”

This mention of succession perked many ears, as Perez has experienced a dip in form; he has not made it out of Q2 in three successive races.

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The Mexican driver has fallen 69 points behind Max Verstappen at the top of the Drivers’ Standings.

Specifically, Perez lags behind his teammate with 126 points, compared to Verstappen’s 196 points haul, with the Dutch-Belgian driver notching six wins under his belt this year.

When questioned further about the potential replacement of Perez by Ricciardo, Marko pushed back, saying that this was not the case and he had not insinuated it was. 

He even accused journalists of taking his comments surrounding Perez’s future “out of context.”

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However, the Austrian former professional driver did acknowledge Perez’s current plight on the racetrack and said he would need to “refocus.”

Marko also curbed expectations about Perez’s chances of claiming World Championships in the near future.

However, he said: “On the positive side he’s the first to survive two seasons alongside Max.”

Perez has had other successes in 2023, with an excellent start that saw him take two wins from the opening four races of the year.

A chief reason for speculation about his future resulted from Ricciardo’s tyre tests and his circling around the team as a reserve driver.

Marko commented that “Daniel Ricciardo does test drives, yes, but that doesn’t have much to do with the sport. Perez has had a few very good races and a few very bad ones.”

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Perez is only contracted with Red Bull until the end of 2024 which may have added fuel to the rumours about his future with the team.

Marko had also commented that the team was looking to “keep options open” with regards to its driver line-up.

However, for now, the Red Bull chief adviser seems to be standing by Perez.