Daniel Ricciardo’s ‘big hole’ hopes amid growing 2024 Red Bull speculation

Michelle Foster
Daniel Ricciardo wearing headphones as he looks down the barrel of the camera lens in Barcelona

Daniel Ricciardo has scored points just thrice in 18 grand prix starts since returning to F1 last year

Daniel Ricciardo is hoping VCARB find a “big hole” in his car after a lacklustre P13 at the British GP that could scupper his chances of a Red Bull promotion.

Despite almost weekly reports claiming his F1 future was on the line, Ricciardo’s top ten performances in Canada and Austria are said to have been noted by Red Bull team boss Christian Horner with a potential mid-season driver swap on the cards.

Daniel Ricciardo: Hopefully there’s a big hole in my car…

PlanetF1.com understands there are clauses in Ricciardo and Sergio Perez’s contract that allow for such a swap with the latter’s clause reportedly based on his deficit to Max Verstappen in the Drivers’ Championship.

If it’s more than 100 points by the summer break, it is understood Red Bull can drop Perez and put another driver in the car.

Neither though, had a good weekend at the British Grand Prix.

Ricciardo qualified P15 where he was seven tenths slower than his VCARB team-mate Yuki Tsunoda, but it was worse for Perez who was 19th after beaching his car in Q1.

Ricciardo went on to finish the Grand Prix in 13th place on a day when Tsunoda added to his points tally. As for Perez, he was P17 with Max Verstappen up in second place.

Ricciardo is hoping VCARB discover something wrong with his car, especially as he wasn’t able to keep pace with the Williams of Logan Sargeant.

“Hopefully there’s a big hole in my car that I haven’t seen yet, and that’s the reason why we’re really slow,” he said.

“We honestly, just as a team, for sure we struggle here. Looking at the Williams at the end on that stint, and Sargeant pulled away from me and I believe [Alex] Albon came and passed Tsunoda.

“Yuki got a point, he did well, but I think as a team we weren’t very competitive this weekend.”

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Ricciardo revealed his biggest issue wasn’t so much a problem with the car but that it simply lacked pace.

“My engineer asked me where, what am I missing? What do I need? And I felt like I was saying, like, the balance and stuff was actually okay, feel like we’re just lacking load,” he said.

“That’s why, when I heard the lap times of the others, I was quite confused because I did the lap, and the lap felt pretty clean – a few little things, but felt decent.

“I was close to the potential the car, and that’s when I was like, I don’t really have an answer right now.

“Watching the other cars in front, I felt the high-speed they were really able to pull away a little bit more. So probably my explanation [is] we’re lacking a bit of load.

“Downforce is king, but I think there’s still things we missed, or my assumption is we missed some things, just with our car and optimising it.

“We have to, looking forward, make everything better but right now with what we had… probably still with set-up, there’s maybe a couple of things myself and the team are maybe not quite grasping.”

Ricciardo will, according to reports, have to wait another two races to learn his fate both for 2024 and next season as Red Bull and VCARB will sit down during the summer break to discuss their driver line-ups.

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