Top two Red Bull contenders for 2025 seat revealed with two others out of favour – report

Thomas Maher
Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda, RB, alongside Ferrari's Carlos Sainz - 2024 Australian Grand Prix.

Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda aren't in contention to replace Sergio Perez at Ferrari, according to a report from the BBC.

Two likely contenders for consideration for a seat at Red Bull in 2025 are likely already out of contention, according to a report in the British media.

With nothing decided and everything to play for with Sergio Perez’s cockpit unconfirmed for next season, the two internal contenders are possibly already out of the running after the first three races of the season.

Andrew Benson: Helmut Marko doesn’t rate Tsunoda

If Red Bull does decide to start with a new name alongside Max Verstappen in 2025 if Sergio Perez doesn’t meet expectations this season, the opportunity is there for a promotion from within by taking one of the drivers from the sister team RB.

Red Bull has done this for most of its driver calls over their nearly two decades of being in F1, with Perez being a notable exception for being an external hire.

But neither Daniel Ricciardo nor Yuki Tsunoda are likely to be considered in place of Perez, according to BBC journalist Andrew Benson.

At the moment, neither Ricciardo nor Tsunoda are likely to get a Red Bull seat in 2025 if either Verstappen or Perez leave,” he wrote in a BBC Q&A ahead of this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.

“Ricciardo has been out-performed by Tsunoda since he returned to F1 midway through last season – it looks at the moment as if the Australian has yet to recover the form he previously showed at Red Bull and Renault before his dip after joining McLaren.”

Indeed, Benson claims that, rather than looking for the promotion which seemed quite likely a scenario before this season started, Ricciardo’s struggles to start the year mean he’s looking over his shoulder at the threat posed by Liam Lawson.

“Ricciardo is at risk of being dropped before too long this season and being replaced at RB by reserve driver Liam Lawson, who impressed when he stood in for Ricciardo last season,” he said.

“And Red Bull motorsport adviser Helmut Marko does not rate Tsunoda, who was forced on him by engine partner Honda. Some inside RB say that is unfair, and that Tsunoda has been performing at an elite level so far this season. But Marko remains to be convinced.

“That being the case, the contenders for any vacant Red Bull seat are the same ones as those for any other vacant seat at a top team – with Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz at the top of the list of potentials.” recommends

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With Sainz winning the Australian Grand Prix last time out, having taken the lead away from Verstappen immediately prior to the Dutchman’s issues, one former F1 driver believes Red Bull should be snapping the Spaniard up in Perez’s place.

“If I were the boss of Red Bull,” he told Eurosport, “I would use all means possible to find a fair solution to terminate the contract with Sergio Pérez. There are certainly clauses in the contract.

“And then I would offer Sainz the cockpit. At the moment there is no one better.”

So much better, he believes the Spaniard could take the fight to triple World Champion Verstappen.

“Firstly, I would like it because competition stimulates business,” he said of a potential Verstappen-Sainz intra-team tussle.

“Then Max would have to accelerate even more, which he can certainly do.

“Secondly, I’m sure Max would sleep worse if he knew that Sainz would be his new teammate.

“In addition, there comes a day in every career when you lose your status. Verstappen is number one at Red Bull – but at some point that too will be over. Either he is getting too old or a new team-mate is suddenly putting pressure on him.

“Such a situation can result in two things: Verstappen becomes even faster or he falls apart.”

But, for now, Perez remains on course to deliver enough to retain his seat for 2025. Having started the year with two assured second places behind Verstappen, Perez’s Australian race was undone by a grid penalty and a wayward tear-off strip getting stuck under his floor.

While Red Bull boss Christian Horner hasn’t ruled Sainz out as an option, labelling him the team’s “nemesis”, Helmut Marko has come to Perez’s defence.

“Of course, his form is fascinating,” Marko told Laola1, in reference to Sainz.

“But you have to realise that Checo [Perez] delivered three good races this year. The fact that he fell back so much in Melbourne was due to the damaged underbody and tyre degradation.

“His only weakness is in qualifying. If he can improve there, there’s no need to think about it. The atmosphere in the team is very good also as far as he is concerned.”

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