Six-time F1 race winner Ralf Schumacher believes the Red Bull driver picture for F1 2024 is actually “relatively clear” and involves Sergio Perez losing his seat to make space for Daniel Ricciardo.
From the outside it seems as though the Red Bull line-up is pretty much set for F1 2024, with Perez retaining his seat alongside Max Verstappen into the final year of his contract.
That then leaves a three-way battle between Ricciardo, Yuki Tsunoda and Liam Lawson for the two seats with Red Bull’s junior team AlphaTauri.
Writing on the wall for Sergio Perez?
But, with this trio of drivers gunning for two seats having been described by Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko as a “luxury problem”, Schumacher believes there is a different route that Red Bull can and already have embarked on.
Ricciardo’s ultimate aim is to return to the Red Bull line-up, and Schumacher reckons that ambition will be realised for the Aussie next season, leaving Perez out in the cold.
“I believe the answer is relatively clear,” Schumacher said in an interview with Formel1.de, quoted by GPFans.
“I mean, even this weekend, I believe for me, the issue of Perez at the end of the season is settled. I think he knows that himself.
“For me, Ricciardo at Red Bull next year is the simplest and most logical decision.”
And Schumacher does not see any room at AlphaTauri for Perez, with the junior team’s line-up instead to his mind set to be filled by Tsunoda and Lawson.
This is the current AlphaTauri pairing as Lawson continues to stand-in for the injured Ricciardo, Lawson earning praise throughout the paddock for his performances as he scored his first points with a P9 finish in Singapore.
“Dr. Marko is fortunate that Liam Lawson is doing such a great job,” Schumacher stated. “He’s been thrown into the deep end and has consistently delivered.
“He made no mistakes on the challenging Singapore circuit and scored points. So, in that regard, I can imagine that he’ll be confirmed for next year at AlphaTauri, alongside Tsunoda.”
Such a series of events would create a very good chance that Perez does not feature on the F1 2024 grid, with Williams the only potential opening should he lose his Red Bull drive.