The future of Red Bull’s driver line=up is currently unclear, with Max Verstappen admitting that this contract might be his last and Sergio Perez hitting his mid 30s.
While Verstappen is contracted with the energy drink giants until 2028, Perez’s contract will expire at the end of the 2024 season, leaving Red Bull with a gap to fill should they decide the Mexican is no longer the answer.
It has been rumoured that the team will try to aquire the services of McLaren’s Lando Norris closer to the end of his contract with the Woking based team, but it has even been suggested that Perez could be replaced as Verstappen’s teammate before his contract runs out.
The 32-year-old has been a stellar teammate for Verstappen in his two years with Red Bull, but with only a handful of race wins to his name, some have speculated that the team could promote Daniel Ricciardo from his third driver role to replace Perez.
With Ricciardo on the hunt to return to a top team in the future, it is unlikely that the Australian would be able to turn down such an opportunity, however Sky Sports pundit David Croft does not believe Ricciardo is the answer for Red Bull.
“They’re both capable of winning races but, to me, they win races in very different ways. I hate to say this, I think Daniel is a terrific bloke, but he is not the future for Red Bull – not by any stretch of the imagination, mainly because of age,” he explained.
“How do they evaluate Daniel? That’s what I’m interested to see.
“They can put him in the sim, but it’s not the same as driving the real car. So will they give him a go in a test somewhere? That’s what I’d like to see, how do they genuinely evaluate the Daniel Ricciardo of today?”
Ricciardo has been cryptic about his chances of racing once again for Red Bull in the future, explaining that they is not promise or clause in his contract that will make him do so, but stopped short of saying it could not happen.
Team principal Christian Horner has suggested that his team have no reason to part ways with Perez, but with the Mexican’s relationship with Verstappen become more and more tense, Horner might be forced to make a change should things not improve in the near future.