Daniel Ricciardo could be set to return to Red Bull as Max Verstappen’s teammate if Sergio Perez starts off the 2024 season in an underwhelming fashion, according to reports.
The Australian departed the Austrian team at the end of 2018 to join Renault but the move, and subsequent switch to McLaren, didn’t work out as he had hoped. Four years later he finds himself driving for Red Bull’s junior team trying to rebuild his reputation.
He showed glimpses of the driver who beat Sebastian Vettel and Verstappen in their times together, notably at the 2023 Mexico City Grand Prix, and as a result he could be set to move back the Milton Keynes outfit as per Joe Saward.
“Informed sources suggest that there is a provision in Ricciardo’s contract for him to switch into Red Bull Racing after the early races next year if Sergio Perez does not up his game,” Saward wrote on X.com, formerly Twitter.
What would the driver changes be?
If Ricciardo is promoted to the team that won 21 out of 22 races in 2023, his salary is said to triple and Liam Lawson will be on hand to step in at AlphaTauri alongside Yuki Tsunoda, with Perez out of a drive.
Lawson already has experience in F1 when he replaced Ricciardo after the latter broke his wrist at the Dutch GP. The young New Zealander took just three races to score his first career points, coming at the Singapore GP, also the same weekend he eliminated Verstappen in the Q2 stage of qualifying.
Lawson’s results from the Dutch GP to the Qatar GP were, 13th, 11th, ninth, 11th, 17th and in the run he actually outscored Tsunoda who didn’t manage a points finish, although he did fail to complete two races.
Either side of his stint in the sport, he led a successful Super Formula campaign where he finished second in his rookie season.