Ricciardo back in the running to replace Perez

Jul.6 (GMM) In the ever-changing and hectic driver ‘silly season’, Daniel Ricciardo is suddenly back in the running for one of the most competitive seats in the sport.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner chided the “brutally hard question” asked of him at Silverstone about whether the team already regrets recently extending the underperforming Sergio Perez’s contract.

“It made absolute sense to sign Checo at that point in time,” he answered, “but this is a business in which there are pressures to deliver.”

Horner even said that as the field closes up on Red Bull, with McLaren perhaps already having the fastest car in 2024, the team he leads “desperately” needs a competitive driver in the seat alongside Max Verstappen.

“We thought the contract would help,” he told Sky. “He’s been in the sim this week to understand why it just isn’t working.

“But the point is that when we sign a driver, you (reporters) do not know the content of the contract. This is a sport in which you cannot hide. He needs to support Max.”

So while Mexican Perez’s contract almost certainly has performance clauses, Ricciardo’s almost certainly has a clause in which he can leap from the junior team RB to Red Bull Racing.

“They are all Red Bull Racing drivers,” Horner clarifies.

Another issue for Red Bull is that Liam Lawson’s contract will lapse if he is not given a race seat for 2025. By promoting Ricciardo to RB, the energy drink-owned concern would therefore solve multiple problems.

When asked about Perez at Silverstone, Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko said: “He has his fluctuations. This time he looks better again.”

Auto Motor und Sport even quoted Marko as responding to whether Ricciardo’s recently-improved form could mean the Australian is promoted. “We’ll know more by the summer break,” is all he would say.

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