Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko confirmed Daniel Ricciardo will take the wheel of the RB19 after the British Grand Prix, to “evaluate where he really stands” in terms of pace.
Ricciardo has been waiting in the wings since returning to Red Bull as third driver in time for the 2023 season, following the early ending of his contract by McLaren last year.
Having now been at several races as a reserve, the Australian admitted he is looking forward to getting back out in a Formula 1 car to show what he can do, after taking in time in Red Bull’s simulator as part of his duties.
Marko confirmed he will have a taste of the RB19 in July, to allow the team to have a proper look at where his pace is.
“We will have Ricciardo in the car for three days after Silverstone at the tyre test and then you can evaluate where Ricciardo really stands,” Marko told Austrian broadcaster ORF.
And when discussing Sergio Perez after qualifying in Canada, who is now in his third season as a Red Bull driver, Marko said, according to Motorsport-Total: “We have only one Max [Verstappen].”
With Perez having not made it out of Q2 in the past three races and fallen behind his team-mate in the Drivers’ standings, Verstappen has opened up a 69-point lead at the top of the table to Perez.
Even though Red Bull hold a significant lead in the Drivers’ and Constructors’ standings, this is not stopping the team from evaluating what is available to them in their reserve driver.
“His initial target was two, three years, which would be more than he planned anyway, and you just have to keep options open for the succession,” Marko added.
Helmut Marko: Sergio Perez ‘surviving’ against Max Verstappen
Ricciardo admitted recently that finishing his career back in a Red Bull seat would be the “fairytale” ending in Formula 1, but with Perez having shown himself to be a strong team-mate alongside Verstappen in 2021 and ’22, the team extended his contract until the end of 2024.
Even with this dip in form that has seen Perez fall away from contention, Marko believes that what Perez has done against Verstappen should even be seen with a different outlook than is being portrayed.
“I think Max is such a strong driver that at least Checo survived two years already, you have to see it in this way,” Marko told the F1 Nation podcast after the Canadian Grand Prix.
“I think Max is something special, you saw it in the rain what he did, you know, going out – bang [first lap time], and the others take two or three laps to get these times and only again, Alonso and Hamilton got near him, all the others didn’t.”