Ricciardo won’t have to be number two at Red Bull – Horner

2017 F1 season

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Daniel Ricciardo knows he won’t have to play second fiddle to another driver if he stays at Red Bull, says team principal Christian Horner.

Mexican Grand Prix in pictures
Red Bull announced a contract extension with Max Verstappen last week but Ricciardo is yet to commit to the team beyond 2018. Horner told Sky he thinks Ricciardo will be better off staying where he is.

“He really enjoys being in the team,” said Horner. “He fits the image of the team, the character that he is, the personality that he is.”

“He knows that he gets equal opportunity here, he wouldn’t be a subservient driver. I think that absolutely counts. I think when he considers his options upon reflection he’ll know where he’s best off.”

Horner said he wants to keep Ricciardo and Verstappen together, even if it means they clash from time to time, as they did in Hungay. “I’d rather have that headache than not,” he said.

“The last two years have worked tremendously well with these two drivers. There’s a great respect and dynamic between the two of them. And they get on out of the car as well. For me it’s the best line-up in Formula One and one we want to keep long-term.”

However Horner did not give an indication when they might be in a position to renew Ricciardo’s deal.

“We’ve got Daniel under contract until the end of next year,” he said. “Of course we’d like to get that extended sooner rather than later. At the opportune moment we’ll go through that with Daniel.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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21 comments on “Ricciardo won’t have to be number two at Red Bull – Horner”

  1. It’s not about that. It’s whether he can beat Max or not. The next thing is: Vettel, Hamilton, Verstappen fighting next year and he not matching Max.

  2. So let’s see whose car has the yellow strips on the camera pod next year. Will RIC be demoted to 2nd driver and get the yellow strips, or will it stay as it is, with VES having the yellow strips?

    Congrats to VES he deserves the win after a bad luck season with his cars.

    1. Considering Ricciardo has a 44 points lead over Verstappen, with only two grand prix to go, you can be pretty certain it’ll be Ricciardo with the red strips, rather than Verstappen.

  3. “Ricciardo won’t have to be number two at Red Bull”

    History has proven that Red Bull plays the 1-2 game as good anyone once one driver gets in a leading position for the championship. Sure Ricciardo will have equal opportunity, but he will also have the (arguably) strongest competitor on the grid to face in the same machinery.

    Whether he stays or not I think will all depend on how competitive the car is, if it’s looking like a true top car, then it will be worth trying to fight Verstappen. Otherwise better to roll the dice on another teams car and see how he goes with a different driver match-up.

  4. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    29th October 2017, 22:54

    For people who don’t know the meaning of a number 2 driver in F1 and don’t follow the sport and take number 2 in another way, they may be rather amused by this pages title :D

  5. This a Vettel-Webber story all over again, Marko is pursuing the “youngest records” BS for his new super young pupil, the huge pace deficit in qualy and race in the late races is very suspicious.
    There are two options: Ricciardo is losing interest in F1 and is starting to massively lose pace, or RedBull is giving Verstappen the better car.
    Maybe that’s the reason Verstappen car was unreliable in the beginning.
    I sure hope RedBull won’t ever be in a position to do what they did in 2010-2013, with those nasty moves they surely could erase that smile from Daniel’s face, and turn him in to an uninspiring driver like the rest of the grid.

    1. There are two options: Ricciardo is losing interest in F1 and is starting to massively lose pace,

      Nope, just listen to the interviews. He is still very focussed and alive.

      or RedBull is giving Verstappen the better car.
      Maybe that’s the reason Verstappen car was unreliable in the beginning.

      That;s quite a contradiction there..
      Even Daniel admits there is absolute parity in the components and data.
      And still these two drivers push each other to the limit. The problem is the limit of VER seems higher.

      1. Verstappen got the upgraded engine for the remainder of the season. I understand that they only had one and someone had to be chosen. But after Marko s comments about Verstappen there is little doubt who is team favorite. So It would also follow that Verstappen would receive chassis and suspension improvements first as well. Ricciardo would be best to move on in 2019. But lets see how next year pans out.

        1. Verstappen got the engine because he was out of sync. Ric got it here in Mexico. Doesn’t exactly show disparity does it.

          1. Jimmy Cricket
            30th October 2017, 9:32

            Verstappen was not out of sync relative to Ricciardo. They each got new engines in the same race weekend, and in fact Daniel’s went for one whole race longer as a result of Max’ Singapore crash.

          2. No Vestappen has a 2018 spec, renault only had 3 available, one for each team. But RIC has had upgrades before, like Monaco last year was a big one.

    2. It could also be that Verstappen is just getting better and better. Or that he just had bad luck before. Or that Ricciardo’s teeth ache. Or that Verstappen prefers the tracks of later in the season.
      Many, MANY possibilities.

  6. Mark and Seb had a good relationship before Turkey 2010 and we all know how that ended. Same with Nico and Lewis before Monaco 2014. If the Bulls are fighting for wins regularly next year it’ll happen again. It’ll be more than a headache and he doesn’t need to ask Toto about it, he knows it himself!

  7. I don’t think Horner believes what he says and I don’t think he’s right. If Verstappen keeps improving and fulfilling his potential, he’ll be of that Hamilton and Vettel (ie, better than Ricciardo) level soon enough. In that case, Red Bull won’t be a better place for a number two than anywhere else. Horner just wants to keep Ric because outside of Alonso (and perhaps certain youngsters) he’s the best driver they can put in that seat. Which makes sense, but not for the stated reason.

  8. Indeed, he won’t have. He is, already.

  9. He will be a number 2 if they start fighting for championships, that is if he can’t grab early points.

  10. The best thing for both RBR and STR would be the departure of Helmut Marko, a benefit for both teams driver pool.
    Ricciardo is their best option as a #1, Verstappen is just too immature and inconsistent at this point in time.

  11. I’m sorry Riciardo is not stepping up to the Plate. Max is cutting it. So he doesn’t care If he’s called 1or 2 . He Just wants to win races. Fact 12-6 qualifying ! Fact 2-1 wins ! Fact 4-0 driver of the Day
    You show that your the boss like Max does and you don’t play the boss like Daniël does ! He is finished 😎

    1. Finished? What planet are you on?

      Ricciardo is still one of the best drivers in the grid. Just because he doesn’t have the raw pace of Verstappen, doesn’t make him slow.

      Hamilton was clearly faster than Roseberg, yet Rosberg still managed to clinch the championship.

    2. And “Driver of the day” isn’t a real statistic.

  12. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    31st October 2017, 11:39

    Unfortunately I was right that Ricciardo would have the fight of his life this year against Max. I did not expect Max to beat Daniel in qualifying the way he has and Max’s performance (results might be a better word) is also reaching its peak at the end of the season which is always quintessential in F1 like he did in Brazil last year while Daniel is having reliability issues.

    Daniel will end up with more points at the end of the season and tons of podiums but that won’t matter one bit…

    Just the fact that Horner has to make these comments signify the end of Daniel’s career at Red Bull. It’s actually a bad thing that Daniel still has a full season to go there.

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