McLaren and Daniel Ricciardo have parted ways after two below par seasons of trying to create a successful relationship.
The Australian has never quite managed to get the best out of the MCL-36 during his time with McLaren and was regularly outperformed by teammate Lando Norris, who established himself as the best of the rest driver in 2022.
In a bid to return to racing at a top team in 2024, Ricciardo will be taking a year away from the grid in 2023 to serve as Red Bull’s third driver, believing that a return home to familiar surroundings will help him get back to his best.
Fans have speculated the Ricciardo’s return to Red Bull could see him eventually replace Sergio Perez in the team’s driver lineup, despite the Mexican being contracted to the team for the next two seasons.
The rumours stem from Perez’s breakdown in relationship with Red Bull star Max Verstappen, following the team order drama in Brazil earlier this season.
Perez has suggested that he is not worried about Ricciardo’s return to Red Bull, claiming that the Australian’s return can only be a good thing for the team.
“I’m very relaxed. We live under a lot of pressure all the time – it doesn’t change anything from my side,” said Perez when asked about Ricciardo re-signing for Red Bull.
“I think it’s a great achievement for the team to have a driver like Daniel
“He’s going to contribute a lot to our team. He’s a great guy, he’s one of the guys I get on the most [with] in the paddock.
“It’s great to have Daniel in the team, and from my side [it] doesn’t change anything.”
Team principal Christian Horner has also been quick to shut down suggestions that Ricciardo could transition to Verstappen’s partner in 2024, claiming that the team have no reason to be unhappy with Perez’s performances.
Horner also said that Red Bull will honour Perez’s contract until the end of 2024, with the Mexican’s contract being extended earlier this year to reward his strong start to life with the energy drink giants.
Perez has suggested that he finally feels capable of challenging Verstappen for the title in 2023, having spent his first two seasons with Red Bull acting as more of a wingman for the Dutchman than a title rival.