Daniel Ricciardo has been warned that replacing Sergio Perez at Red Bull will not be an easy task. 2023 was an underwhelming season for the Mexican who finished runner-up to teammate Max Verstappen for the second straight year and Ricciardo has been suggested as a possible replacement.
Like the rest of the field, Perez was no match for the Dutchman and the 33-year-old finished a whopping 290 points behind the now three-time world champion. After winning two of the first four races in 2023, Perez did not take the chequered flag for the rest of the year and pressure is mounting on his future at Red Bull.
One of the names who has been tipped to possibly replace him is Ricciardo, who drove for the reigning constructors champions between 2014 and 2018. After leaving McLaren at the end of the 2022 campaign, he began the year as the team’s third driver, before joining AlphaTauri to fill a vacant seat left by Nyck de Vries in July.
Should the eight-time F1 race winner head back to Red Bull and become Verstappen’s teammate in the future, former F1 driver Timo Glock warned Ricciardo about the challenges that lie ahead. “He’s just too good and everyone knows that,” the German told RacingNews365.com.
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“Anyone that would jump in next to him, knows that they have a long path to go to understand the car, to understand what kind of set-up they’re running. Because I think that’s another point – the car is pretty much developed in the direction of Max’s driving style. And at the moment, I think everyone who jumps in that car would have a difficult task.”
Perez’s points tally did help Red Bull clinch their second successive constructors championship in what was another dominant year for the team. They failed to win all but one race this season, which came in September when Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz won the Singapore Grand Prix. Perez’s two wins and nine podium finishes combined with Verstappen’s 19 and 21 wins earned Red Bull 860 points, more than double the tally of second-place Mercedes.
When asked if he is expecting Red Bull to dominate again next year, Glock said: “Red Bull is not doing much in development, they already focusing on 2024. I think Adrian Newey knows exactly with this group of people what they’re doing in the background at the moment. They will have a strong package again next year, but it would be great to see a fight, a proper fight for the title again next year.”
The former Toyota driver highlighted that Verstappen’s natural ability to work in harmony with the Red Bull team as well as relying on his instincts are significant different between him and Perez. “The difference is the self-confidence he has,” Glock added. “He’s just in his zone, he knows exactly if things don’t go right, what buttons he has to press to get it in the right direction, the combination of the team, the whole engineering group, together with him, they know exactly what to do.
“And if things are not 100 percent, right, he is still managing to pull out a magic lap in qualifying or keep things together even if they had a problem with the brakes [in Austin]. He is able to get around and drive around the problem and still be quicker than everyone else. If you have such a run, it gives you so much self-confidence, which he has anyway. I think that it’s another level now, it doesn’t matter what he does.”