Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has revealed the team will be “exploring options” when it comes to deciding on Max Verstappen’s team-mate beyond 2024.
Despite winning two of the opening four races of F1 2023 in Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan, Sergio Perez’s seat has come under severe scrutiny after his season imploded with a run of five rounds without a Q3 appearance between Monaco and Silverstone.
The Mexican’s contract is due to expire at the end of next season, with a number of drivers likely to be targeting the seat alongside Verstappen at Red Bull.
Red Bull reveal ‘options’ to become Max Verstappen’s team-mate
On the Saturday of the Japanese Grand Prix, Red Bull junior team AlphaTauri announced that Daniel Ricciardo will remain alongside Yuki Tsunoda for 2024.
Since returning to a full-time seat ahead of July’s Hungarian GP, Ricciardo has made no secret of his desire to reclaim the Red Bull seat he vacated at the end of the 2018 season.
The Australian has been absent from the last four races after breaking his hand at Zandvoort last month, with his replacement Liam Lawson impressing for AlphaTauri by claiming only the team’s fourth points finish of the season at last weekend’s Singapore GP.
Despite Lawson’s fine performances, he remains without a place on the 2024 grid with only one seat – currently held by Logan Sargeant at Williams – potentially up for grabs for next season.
Speaking to Sky F1 at Suzuka, Horner has outlined why Red Bull and AlphaTauri overlooked Lawson for a full-time drive with the New Zealander set to act as the teams’ reserve driver as things stand.
He said: “I think he’s certainly turned heads and gave us plenty to think about, in particular following his Singapore drive.
“He’s doing everything possible to justify a case for a full-time drive, but unfortunately three into two doesn’t go.”
Asked if Red Bull would be more likely to favour Ricciardo over Lawson as a potential successor to Perez in 2025 despite the 13-year age difference between the pair, he replied: “Who knows? At Red Bull Racing we want the best two drivers that are available.
“We’ve got a long-term contract with Max. Checo is out of contract at the end of ’24 and so you want to explore and see all of those options.
“Checo is in the hot seat at the moment and will obviously be keen to extend; we’ll see how Daniel does; we’ll see how Yuki does and in the background we’ll see what Liam’s capable of in the test-and-reserve role.”
Almost certain to be crowned a three-time World Champion in the coming weeks, Verstappen’s current Red Bull deal is due to expire at the end of the 2028 season.