‘Daniel Ricciardo return will have Sergio Perez scanning through Red Bull contract’

Michelle Foster
Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo. Red Bull launch New York February 2023.

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez stands with team reserve Daniel Ricciardo at the launch of the RB19. New York City February 2023.

Daniel Ricciardo may have taken Nyck de Vries’ AlphaTauri seat but it’s Sergio Perez who needs to watch his back, and read his contract very carefully, says Ted Kravitz.

After weeks of speculation, Red Bull put to rest rumours of Ricciardo making a return when they announced the Aussie would replace de Vries at their junior team, the Honey Badger in action as early as the next race in Hungary.

That also put an end to de Vries’ Formula 1 career with the 28-year-old sacked, not even demoted to a reserve driver role.

Sergio Perez needs to ‘check the terms of his contract’

But while today it’s de Vries who is licking his Red Bull sized wounds, next season it could be Perez with the beleagured driver under pressure to hold onto his race-seat.

Although Perez started this season well, taking two wins in the first four grands prix, he hasn’t been in a top-ten shoot-out since his Miami Grand Prix pole position with a run of five failures on the trot.

That he’s only once been able to recover to feature on the podium despite driving by far the best car on the grid, means he’s fallen 99 points behind Max Verstappen in the race for the World title.

And it seems his P2 points are perhaps all that’s keeping him in his seat with Helmut Marko telling Kleine Zeitung: “We really want to finish second in the Drivers’ Championship too. If we change drivers, the points are gone, so for us it’s not even an issue.”

That doesn’t guarantee Perez will be in the car next season with Red Bull’s driver contracts reportedly with the company and not the individual team.

Sky Sports’ Kravitz reckons Perez needs to go through that contract with a fine-tooth comb.

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Asked if he believes Ricciardo could be aiming for Perez’s Red Bull seat, the pit lane reporter replied: “Yes it does.

“I think it makes Sergio Perez check the terms of his contract to see if it’s as leaky as Nyck de Vries’ contract with Red Bull obviously was, and worry about whether Ricciardo is coming back.”

Kravitz, though, continues to question whether Ricciardo in the AlphaTauri will be able to produce the results needed to oust Perez.

“This whole plan of coming back could be scuppered by being no quicker than Yuki Tsunoda on a not-good AlphaTauri,” he said.

“But, certainly, if he is and he can score points on debut and is the driver who can transform a car, then this will be a good deciding value of how much is car and how much is driver, won’t it?”

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