Helmut Marko quizzed on Daniel Ricciardo’s F1 future ahead of intriguing Silverstone test

Sam Cooper
Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull garage. Melbourne, April 2023.

Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull garage. Melbourne, April 2023.

Helmut Marko says Red Bull will get a first look at Daniel Ricciardo’s driving talents when he takes to the Silverstone track for a tyre test.

The Australian will hop back in a Red Bull car for the first time since 2018 next month when he gets a runaround at Silverstone to test new Pirelli tyres.

It will not only be the rubber under the microscope either with Red Bull keen to have a good look at the driver, who most recently left McLaren after an underwhelming couple of years.

Ricciardo’s return to Red Bull naturally brought speculation as to whether he was in line to replace Sergio Perez but Marko has insisted the seat is the Mexican’s until at least the end of 2024.

“First of all, Checo is still second in the championship,” he told the Inside Line F1 podcast. “So the first goal is to defend his position and I’m sure if he focuses on just achieving that he will be a good driver for Red Bull Racing.

“With Ricciardo, he will have a test in Silverstone and from there we see where he’s standing but [there are no immediate plans].

“We have a contract with Checo which goes till the end of ’24 and of course we have to think what will happen after that but if Ricciardo recovers, if it is the old Ricciardo which we knew he was a very competitive driver.

“I don’t exactly know what happened at Renault and McLaren especially, why he lost the edge but we have to evaluate it.”

According to Marko, it is not the first time Perez and Ricciardo have been pitted against each other with the pair of them asked to take part in a selection day to determine who would get a Red Bull contract.

“With Sergio Perez, we had a selection day,” Marko recalled. “I think together with Ricciardo so we had a close look at him. Interestingly, on the qualifying lap, he was down but in race performance, he was good.

PlanetF1.com recommends

Toto Wolff reveals ‘no d***heads’ policy at Mercedes as Lewis Hamilton talks progress

Fans who want FIA to punish Red Bull have ‘no idea’ about F1

“But at the same time, he already had a lot of backing from his Mexican supporters and they decided to go their own way but it was an amicable decision.

“Later, the decision was between [Alex] Albon and Perez. I have to say Alex was really unlucky.

“In Brazil, he was fighting for second position when [Lewis] Hamilton turned him around. The next [incident between Hamilton and Albon] was more severe in Austria when Alex was fighting for the race.

“That hurt his confidence massively. We needed someone we knew could fight for the championship, we needed to solve a crisis.”