Max Verstappen would have a great time with Daniel Ricciardo if the Australian replaced Sergio Perez at Red Bull for 2024 but insisted he’d be happy with either driver as teammate.
However, Ricciardo re-iterated he’s only had contact with AlphaTauri regarding the 2024 season, after he recorded the team’s best result of the year at the 2023 Mexico City Grand Prix.
Perez has less than half Verstappen‘s points total ahead of the 2023 Las Vegas GP and hasn’t picked up a podium in six races, but Red Bull remain committed to honouring his contract which runs until the end of 2024.
“I always had a great relationship with Daniel, when we’re teammates and when we weren’t,” Verstappen told the media. “But I also have a great relationship with Checo, I find it a bit unfair to sit here and say who I would prefer as a teammate.
“They’ve been great teammates and at the end of the day, it’s not up to me to make these kind of decisions because I’m very focused on my own performance.
“So if it’s Checo next year then great, I’ve had a great working relationship with him but also personally I think he’s a great guy, and if it’s Daniel we will also get along fine and have a great time. F1 can be a tough sport.”
Ricciardo only focused on AlphaTauri for 2024
After a catastrophic two-year stint with McLaren, Ricciardo was set to spend 2023 on the sidelines as Red Bull‘s reserve driver before stepping up to AlphaTauri when Nyck de Vries was axed.
But Ricciardo broke his hand in free practice for just his third weekend back meaning rookie Liam Lawson was handed a five-race cameo, and the Kiwi took full advantage beating Yuki Tsunoda 4-1 and scoring a very impressive ninth-place finish in Singapore.
There were even suggestions he should keep the seat for the rest of the season but Ricciardo silenced those doubters with a stunning seventh place from fourth on the Mexico City GP grid, while Perez crashed at the first corner and failed to finish.
The result catapulted AlphaTauri up to eighth in the constructors’ championship, after Ricciardo‘s fourth race of 2023.
“Obviously all the stuff around my contract next year has been related to AlphaTauri,” Ricciardo added. “That’s honestly as far as that goes.
“For me personally, having a weekend like Mexico is just definitely good for the soul. And also like for the team, I haven’t been here long but for them to be 10th in the constructors and to jump two places in the space of two weekends was huge.
“So I think that kind of creates a very happy atmosphere around everyone, so I’m happy doing that and try to just keep charging on where I am.”