Red Bull return for Ricciardo “wouldn’t be before 2025” – Horner

2023 Belgian Grand Prix

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has said there is no possibility Daniel Ricciardo could return to the team before the 2025 season.

Ricciardo returned to Formula 1 at the Hungarian Grand Prix last weekend driving for Red Bull’s junior team AlphaTauri. He has made it clear he is seeking a return to Red Bull, the team he left in 2018.

However Red Bull have Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez under contract for next season. Verstappen is on a long-term deal which will keep him at Red Bull until 2028, while Perez signed a new two-year deal last season.

After extending Perez’s contract, Horner said in June last year that “locks out the seat unless he absolutely doesn’t deliver for whatever reason in 2023 or beginning of ’24, for example.”

Christian Horner, Spa-Francorchamps, 2023
Horner ruled out an early change to Red Bull’s line-up
Despite a poor run of races for Perez in which he has fallen over 100 points behind Verstappen, Horner said the team will not make an early move to bring Ricciardo into the team.

“Obviously the reason that Daniel was brought back into the seat is not because he has long-term aspirations to be an AlphaTauri driver for the next five years,” said Horner. “He sees it as the quickest route to getting back into a competitive seat.

“Clearly his objective [is] a 2025 Red Bull Racing seat when we have obviously a vacancy. Now, Daniel has an opportunity between now and the end of the year to demonstrate that he hasn’t lost any of his form.

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“Then, obviously, a decision will be made as to whether he remains in that seat for a further 12 months. But it would obviously be very clear that AlphaTauri drivers – and Toro Rosso before that – have been placed there to develop them as potential Red Bull Racing candidates. Daniel’s very aware of that, and that’s his objective, but that wouldn’t be before 2025.”

Horner said he was impressed by Ricciardo’s performance on his return for AlphaTauri in Hungary. Ricciardo out-qualified team mate Yuki Tsunoda and started 13th. He finished in the same position after being hit by Zhou Guanyu at the first corner, which dropped him to the back of the field.

“I thought in very difficult circumstances for him, getting dropped in the car he’d never sat in before, I thought he did very, very well,” said Horner. “I thought to qualify in the top 13, he was a little unlucky at the start of the race, but then when you look at his pace, his race pace, particularly that long run on the medium tyre in the second half the race, his pace was extremely good.

“I thought for a comeback drive in difficult circumstances he actually acquitted himself very, very well.”

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2023 Belgian Grand Prix

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Author information

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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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6 comments on “Red Bull return for Ricciardo “wouldn’t be before 2025” – Horner”

  1. So Horner has just signed him for ‘24.

  2. BLS (@brightlampshade)
    30th July 2023, 11:04

    I think Horner genuinely enjoys flat out lying about the obvious and watching the media having to report these statements like he actually means them haha.

  3. Once again, things can change.

  4. I wish the media would stop asking questions they already know the answer to. The answer being that if Perez falls apart and DR does well of course something can change. However, if Horner admits that he undermines Perez and those same people asking the question will vilify Horner for putting Perez under pressure by saying he could be replaced. There is NOTHING to be gained by Horner by saying “yeah, Checo could be replaced.”

  5. The more he says this, the less I believe him

  6. According to a story published in Crash a year ago, Perez gets paid $10m a year by Red Bull, but his Mexican sponsors pay $20m a year to Red Bull.

Comments are closed.