Max Verstappen makes his feelings clear on Daniel Ricciardo replacing Sergio Perez

Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were team-mates at Red Bull from the 2016 Spanish GP until the end of 2018.

Reigning World Champion Max Verstappen has revealed that he’s “open” to Daniel Ricciardo returning to Red Bull in 2025, with the Australian making his return to Formula 1 this weekend.

Following the firing of rookie Nyck de Vries, Ricciardo has been loaned by Red Bull to AlphaTauri for the remainder of 2023.

The Red Bull development driver will be driving for the Faenza-based team for the first time since 2013, alongside Japanese driver Yuki Tsunoda.

Returning to AlphaTauri is seemingly part of Ricciardo’s plan to force a move back to Red Bull, something team principal Christian Horner is aware of.

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It’s very well known that Ricciardo wants to race for Red Bull again, with him having admitted that “this is where I want to be. I’m not going to weave my way around it”.

Ricciardo left Red Bull for Renault at the end of 2018, with Verstappen having very much been the team’s lead driver ever since.

Following Ricciardo’s move to the sister team, many have seen it as a method being used by Red Bull to put Sergio Perez under pressure.

With Perez having failed to progress to Q3 in the last five races, there have been some suggestions that Ricciardo could replace the Mexican in 2024, should Checo continue to struggle.

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Despite this, it’s expected that Red Bull will honour Perez’s deal until the end of 2024, meaning a seat could be available in 2025.

Verstappen is very much “open” to Ricciardo taking Perez’s place in 2025, with the Dutchman having “never” wanted the Aussie to leave in the first place at the end of 2018.

Verstappen and Ricciardo do get on “very well”, with the 25-year-old believing that the 34-year-old could return to the main fold if he delivers for AlphaTauri.

READ: Sergio Perez comments on Daniel Ricciardo ‘shame’

“Yeah, I mean, I never actually wanted him to leave,” Verstappen said during Thursday’s pre-weekend drivers’ press conference.

“But no, I mean, all of these things. We know that we get on very well.

“And yeah, I mean, if Daniel of course does well where he is now, then of course you have the opportunity to go back up, right? So it’s all open to be honest.”