Next Red Bull driver ‘on the ladder’ emerges with Daniel Ricciardo doubts cast

Mark Scott
Christian Horner and Daniel Ricciardo share a joke at the Monaco Grand Prix weekend.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner chats with Daniel Ricciardo.

Red Bull junior Liam Lawson is reportedly next in line on the young driver conveyor belt with doubts cast over whether Daniel Ricciardo is ready to return to F1.

Nyck de Vries’ struggles to get to grips with life as a full-time F1 driver with AlphaTauri has created a real hotbed of speculation and rumour over potential replacements for his race seat.

Ricciardo, waiting in the wings again in a reserve driver role with Red Bull, is reportedly open to joining the sister team in order to find a place back on the F1 grid, while Lawson, catching the eye in the Super Formula series, and another Red Bull junior driver in Ayumu Iwasa have also been mentioned.

Has Daniel Ricciardo really rediscovered his mojo?

But, according to Sky F1’s pit-lane reporter, Ted Kravitz, it is Lawson who is the apparent next heir to ascend into the F1 ranks with Red Bull and, more specifically, AlphaTauri, who will undergo another name and brand change ahead of the F1 2024 season.

Speculation surrounding Ricciardo intensified after Red Bull booked him in for a Silverstone test next week to help run their Pirelli tyre programme, yet Kravitz believes there are some doubts as to whether the Aussie is in a position to be thrown into the deep end as a fully-fledged F1 driver again.

“Liam Lawson is next on the ladder of Red Bull young drivers. He’s here this weekend, read into that what you will,” Kravitz said in his Austrian GP notebook programme on Sky F1.

“It doesn’t seem like Daniel Ricciardo is going to get into an AlphaTauri or anything else. He’s just doing some testing.

“I think it’s going to take longer for the re-finding of the Ricciardo mojo. He certainly is not going to be bounced into a seat this year although I could be wrong on that.”

“It looks like Liam Lawson is next for any seats that either AlphaTauri or Red Bull Racing might have going, but anyway it looks like Perez will continue next year anyway.

“The rehabilitation of Ricciardo, if you want to call it that, will take a bit longer.”

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While Kravitz was a little dismissive of the importance and significance of the upcoming test for Ricciardo, Horner seemed to suggest it will be a key event in potentially deciding the Aussie’s F1 2024 future.

“Well, it’s still very early days, you know, for next year, and I think that Daniel is under contract for the year,” Horner told reporters in Austria when asked if AlphaTauri could be a genuine destination for the Australian next season.

“He’s going to be driving our car for the first time after the British Grand Prix and he’s obviously a world-class driver. He’s won what, seven [8, sic] Grands Prix in his career to date?

“So I think the first thing will be to see how he performs and where his motivation is, and then from there, it’s a question for AlphaTauri as to, you know, their choices for the following season.”

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