Pressure grows on Daniel Ricciardo as driver ‘almost definite’ to join F1 2025 grid identified

Jamie Woodhouse
Daniel Ricciardo, RB, 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Daniel Ricciardo's F1 future may not go beyond the end of 2024 if improvements aren't made.

Liam Lawson will near-certainly race for RB in 2025, with Daniel Ricciardo identified as the driver at high risk of making way for the New Zealander. 

F1 TV presenter Will Buxton has been casting an eye over the Formula 1 driver market and how ‘silly season’ could unfold from here after Fernando Alonso announced that he would stay with Aston Martin under a new multi-year contract, bringing an end to speculation that he could join Red Bull or Mercedes.

Yuki Tsunoda versus Daniel Ricciardo to partner Liam Lawson?

But, while a major piece of the puzzle in Alonso is staying in place, there remains plenty of room for movement elsewhere on the grid, with Buxton identifying Red Bull’s junior team RB as a place where driver change is close to a guarantee.

Despite Lawson impressing during his 2023 stint in the place of the injured Ricciardo, Red Bull chose to go with Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda as the F1 2024 RB line-up, though Lawson was given assurances that he will take his place on the 2025 grid, which Buxton claims will be delivered on.

That then would leave the question of who partners Lawson for 2025? Tsunoda has had the clear beating of Ricciardo – in a surprise to many – during the opening stages of F1 2024, meaning Ricciardo is seemingly staring at the exit door unless he turns this situation around.

“VCARB: Lawson almost definite,” Buxton posted on social media.

“At the time of Aus GP neither Yuki or Daniel seemed likely, but today Tsunoda is impossible to ignore. On current form he stays with Lawson.”

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F1 2025 driver line-up: Who is already confirmed for the 2025 grid?

Elsewhere in the driver market, there is a keen eye being kept on Sauber, as they prepare for their final season before that huge transition to becoming the Audi works team.

Neither Valtteri Bottas nor Zhou Guanyu appear safe in their seats beyond F1 2024, with Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg having been claimed to be the German brand’s preferred line-up for 2025.

Buxton believes Hulkenberg’s decision will directly impact the chances of Ferrari junior Oliver Bearman landing a 2025 Haas seat, the Brit having wowed on debut in Saudi Arabia in place of Carlos Sainz, while Buxton also threw Formula 2 Championship leader Zane Maloney into the Sauber mix.

“Sauber: Audi project makes it a potential destination for Sainz,” Buxton stated.

“Maybe with Hulk. Maybe with Sauber junior Maloney who is doing brilliantly in F2 and is backed by long-time Audi man [Allan] McNish.”

Should Sainz not join Sauber/Audi, then Buxton proposed Williams as another potential destination.

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