While both Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo have their eyes set on a Red Bull seat beyond 2024, team principal Christian Horner revealed they are not the only contenders.One-half of the Red Bull line-up is set in stone for as long as Max Verstappen wants it to be, the Dutchman charging towards his third World Championship title in as many seasons, with his contract keeping him at Red Bull until the end of the 2028 season.
It is Verstappen, rather than Red Bull, who could trigger an early end to that deal as he continues to drop hints over his long-term involvement in Formula 1. Not just Sergio Perez versus Daniel Ricciardo for Red Bull
Verstappen has also said though that competing in leading machinery would make it hard for him to walk away, so while he should be at Red Bull for many years to come, the same is not certain for Perez.
With Verstappen now on a run of eight wins in succession as Perez has seen his title challenge crumble, there has been rumours circulating that Red Bull may not even allow him to see out the final year of his contract in 2024. Daniel Ricciardo, who returned to the Red Bull fold as a reserve driver for 2023, before being sent to junior team AlphaTauri to replace Nyck de Vries, has also made it clear that he wants to return to the Red Bull line-up.
Horner has consistently made it clear that any battle for a Red Bull seat is with 2025 in mind, but it seems that is not going to feature a direct shootout between Perez and Ricciardo.
“It’s just the position that we’re in it’s great to have a lot of interest,” Horner told Sky Sports News.
“And it’s not just from those drivers [Perez and Ricciardo] – it’s from drivers outside our spectrum as well regarding 2025.” Perez has now slipped 125 points behind team-mate and runaway Championship leader Verstappen with Formula 1 now into its summer shutdown, while after two races in AlphaTauri colours, Ricciardo will be back after the break looking to ensure that he does not finish the campaign on zero.
Red Bull’s struggling junior team have picked up only three points so far this season and find themselves rock bottom of the Constructors’ Championship.