Christian Horner has announced that Daniel Ricciardo will test the RB19 during FP1 later in the season. This is excellent news for Ricciardo fans. But what does this mean for him and Red Bull?
Daniel Ricciardo finds himself without a seat for the 2023 season. This was due to his recent poor performances with the McLaren team. While the reason for his poor performance remains unclear, we can assume that it is one of two possibilities. One is that Ricciardo has lost his mojo and it is time for him to retire.
The other is that Daniel Ricciardo was not able to adjust his driving style to suit the McLaren car. Daniel Ricciardo fans would be hoping for the latter. He is now serving as a reserve driver for Red Bull.
What did Christian Horner say about Daniel Ricciardo?
In a recent interview with F1, Christian Horner said: It’s great to have him back in blue and back in the team. He’s really throwing himself into it. [He’s] sitting in all the briefings, he’s been working hard on the simulator as well, doing some race support and some development work on that.”
“Daniel’s just a positive energy to have around and it’s great to see him getting his mojo back, to see that big smile on his face – he lights up a room when he walks in.”
“His popularity in Formula 1… even though he’s not driving, he’s still probably the most popular driver here, and for us, it’s just positive to have him in the team, contributing to the team, to the drivers, to the engineering team”
“Hopefully he’ll rediscover his love for the sport. He’ll do a bit of testing for us later in the year and we’ll see how that goes for him. But I think it’s a different experience. He’s thrown himself [in] and [is] embracing this new role.”
Christian Horner thinks Ricciardo still go what it takes to be successful in the sport. We all remember a time when Ricciardo used to be the “last of the late breakers” Unfortunately since then, his performance has not been the same.
“He’s in good shape; he’s kept himself fit and well. I think that he’s training hard and he’s ready to go given the chance.”
From the looks of it, Daniel Ricciardo is really embracing his new role and playing the team game for Red Bull. He has also utilized his time to keep in shape to be race ready in case the time ever comes for him to replace Verstappen or Perez. As Horner mentioned he would be testing for Red Bull later in the year, what will this mean for Sergio Perez? Could Daniel stand a chance at replacing him for the next season?
Can Ricciardo outperform Sergio Perez?
Daniel Ricciardo does pose a threat to Sergio Perez if Perez is looking to extend his contract. Sergio Perez needs to what it takes to outperform Daniel Ricciardo when the time comes.
Daniel Ricciardo could drive the RB19 in FP1 at any one of the circuits later on during the season. We all know how much Ricciardo loves the United States, but it will be unlikely that he will drive in Las Vegas. Since it is a new track, Red Bull will want their main drivers to spend as much time as possible on the track.
But we could see Ricciardo in the RB19 at Austin, Texas. This could have the potential to be an entertaining weekend with Ricciardo’s outfits and gimmicks.
When Ricciardo does take the wheel of the RB19, everyone will be keeping an eye on his times. If he proves to be quick and reliable, he might get a few options to be on the grid for the 2024 season.
What are Daniel Ricciardo’s options for 2024?
The 2024 season, does not have many open seats for Ricciardo. The only teams that have an opening are Alfa Romeo, Alpha Tauri, Williams, and Haas. These teams might not interest Ricciardo, nor will the teams be willing to pay Ricciardo’s high salary. Mercedes does have an opening for 2024 as it stands. But it is likely that they will reassign their current drivers for the next season as well.
While 2024 serves limited options for the Australian Driver, 2025 has a few interesting choices. After the end of the 2024 season, a lot of drivers in the top teams will be out of a contract unless they extend it beforehand. Both Ferrari drivers will be out of a contract as it stands. So will Sergio Perez in the Red Bull. Alpine and Aston Martin could also have an opening for Ricciardo.
So if Ricciardo could wait out the 2024 season as well, he could have some good options for 2025. We all know the kind of driver he was before he left Red Bull. Let us hope that he can once again be the gritty Aussie.