Daniel Ricciardo receives potential RB boost with F1 2025 driver options addressed

Elizabeth Blackstock
Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Visa Cash App RB prepares to drive in the garage prior to the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco at Circuit de Monaco on May 26, 2024 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco

Daniel Ricciardo grins in the RB garage, Monaco 2024.

Empty seats are dwindling ahead of Formula 1’s upcoming 2025 season, raising key concerns about where Team RB driver Daniel Ricciardo may end up. He and teammate Yuki Tsunoda were strong contenders for Sergio Perez’s Red Bull seat until the Mexican driver signed a two-year deal.

Thankfully, RB CEO Peter Bayer is “very happy” with both of his current drivers. In the team press conference ahead of May’s Grand Prix in Imola, Bayer expressed optimism about the growth and potential of both Ricciardo and Tsunoda, and that they aren’t “wasting time” discussing future options.

Daniel Ricciardo: a wealth of value

Visa Cash App RB — the team formerly known as AlphaTauri, before which it was Toro Rosso — is one of the final hold-outs when it comes to determining its 2025 F1 lineup, alongside other outfits like Haas and Alpine.

Part of this likely comes down to the fact that both RB drivers were thought to be under consideration for Sergio Perez’s Red Bull seat. Further, RB boss Laurent Mekies exclusively told PlanetF1 that the team is under no rush to sign any contracts.

“As much as we acknowledge the fact that it seems to be a big topic out there, from our perspectives it’s far too early for us to think about that,” Mekies said, regarding the question of driver lineups.

In Imola, Bayer echoed that sentiment by saying, “I think we’ve very happy with both of our drivers. Honestly, we’re not wasting time with discussing ‘ifs’ and ‘whens.’ We have a very strong lineup. We have a great reserve driver. We have great talent coming through F2, F3.”

Instead, RB is focused almost entirely on improving its performance in order to compete with the likes of Aston Martin.

That being said, Mekies referred to the Tsunoda/Ricciardo pairing as “huge luck” in an exclusive interview with PlanetF1 before further elaborating on the qualities that makes Ricciardo such a great fit for RB.

“Daniel specifically, in the context of the projects, where the team needs to go and helping identify the gaps, it hugely helps to have somebody like Daniel that won eight races, has been at a few teams and knows where the board can be and where the board needs to go,” Mekies said. And while Ricciardo may have struggled to come to grips with the 2024 car, Mekies praised the Australian’s ability to work hard for performance without being “emotional” about any lack of progress. Those are all ideal qualities for a driver in a team like RB — one that can use level-headed feedback and a strong dedication to making change.

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Things aren’t all bad for Yuki Tsunoda, though. The Japanese driver may have spent his first few years in F1 learning to control his temper and his race craft — but now, Peter Bayer is impressed.

“I definitely believe [Tsunoda] has made a big step forward,” Bayer said during the team press conference ahead of Imola. “It’s physical preparation, but it’s also his mental readiness to perform and deliver.

“One example I mentioned the other day: I think he simply understood that every time he would be swearing on the radio, that will cost him a tenth. So he’s got himself under control. He’s extremely professional in the work that he’s been putting into the feedback with engineers. Yes, he definitely made a big step up.”

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