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Daniel Ricciardo’s potential F1 return amid Pérez’s Red Bull woes

Daniel Ricciardo

In Formula 1, second chances are few and far between, yet recent comments from Red Bull’s motorsport advisor, Helmut Marko, might signal a potential comeback for Daniel Ricciardo. Marko has raised doubts about the future of Sergio Pérez with Red Bull Racing due to Pérez’s recent poor form​.

Marko revealed that Ricciardo will be in the car for a tyre test after the Silverstone event, and this will provide an opportunity to assess Ricciardo’s current standing. Another tyre test with Ricciardo is planned following the Italian Grand Prix in September​​.

Marko’s comments implicitly acknowledge two facts: Ricciardo is being considered for a full-time role, something the team was hesitant to publicly affirm due to the limited scope of his current role, and Pérez’s time at the top might be running out despite his strong start to the year. This situation creates a narrow window for Ricciardo’s F1 comeback​​.

Ricciardo, who was dropped by McLaren last season after two years of underperformance, took 2023 as a sabbatical year to recover his confidence. His stint as Red Bull Racing’s reserve driver has been insightful and shows his potential for a comeback. His time in the simulator revealed some bad habits he had developed at McLaren, but he is beginning to regain his form​1​.

READ: Best betting sites for F1 odds in 2023

Red Bull Racing is utilizing Ricciardo in tyre tests to lessen the workload on its full-time drivers and out of curiosity to see how he’ll perform. Pérez’s recent struggles, despite a strong start to the season, have drawn attention to his performances and raised questions about his future with the team. This situation may have been compounded by Marko’s public comments about Pérez’s struggles​​.

Pérez’s future lies in his own hands as he has shown potential by winning races and earning pole positions with Red Bull Racing, though these instances have been rare​​.

Although Pérez has a contract until the end of the next season, his underwhelming performance might impact his chances for an early deal renewal. This makes 2025 a more realistic target year for Ricciardo’s Red Bull Racing reunion​.

To secure a spot in Red Bull Racing by 2025, Ricciardo might have to retrace his early career path via the AlphaTauri team. Both Red Bull and Ricciardo are open to this move, which would provide a season-long evaluation of his capability. If Ricciardo can dispel any remaining doubts, he might get the go-ahead to return to Red Bull Racing the following season​.

Rejoining AlphaTauri might contradict Ricciardo’s earlier statements about only wanting to return to F1 with a frontrunning team. Yet, with all frontrunning teams fully subscribed for 2024, AlphaTauri could offer a viable route to a winning car in a way that teams like Williams and Haas cannot. Ricciardo, who needs to drive next season, deserves a chance to prove he can be a frontrunner again​.

As F1 moves towards the mid-season break, the elements for Ricciardo’s comeback might be coming into alignment​.

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