Horner admits 'everything is open' for 2025 Red Bull line-up with Ricciardo back in the fold
Christian Horner has admitted that “everything is open” regarding Red Bull’s 2025 driver line-up, with both Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo potentially vying for a spot.
The 2023 season was near enough perfect for Red Bull, with Max Verstappen storming to his third successive drivers’ title while the team secured another constructor’s title, finishing a massive 451 points ahead of second-placed Mercedes.
Perez also held up his end of the bargain by taking P2 in the drivers’ standings – the first 1-2 ever achieved by Red Bull since coming into the sport. However, despite the Mexican securing the runner-up spot, he still finished 290 points behind his team mate and had a rollercoaster of a campaign.
He had started 2023 in exemplary form, with two pole positions and two race wins in the opening five Grands Prix, as he looked to apply pressure on Verstappen. But, despite having the formidable RB19 to work with, his form tailed off as a run of five events without a Q3 appearance – between Monaco and the British Grand Prix – hampered his points-scoring chances.
His qualifying continued to be up and down as the year went on, forcing the Mexican into several recovery drives, though he did manage to score enough points to maintain his hold on P2. That said, Horner did indicate once the season concluded that Perez had to “sort his Saturdays out” in 2024.
Ricciardo’s 2023 was similarly eventful, beginning the year as Red Bull reserve driver before he was handed one of the AlphaTauri seats part way through the season. While a broken hand hampered his progress through the campaign, the Australian has targeted a Red Bull seat in future – the team he left in 2018 for Renault.
In a recent interview with Sky Sports F1, Team Principal Horner explained that the 2025 line-up was still open, as the debate over who could race alongside Verstappen in the long run continues.
“As a team, you want to field the most competitive pairing that you can have, and you want the right dynamic in the team,” Horner said.
“Max and Checo have been a tremendously successful pairing. Checo, in his three years with us, has finished fourth, third and second so he’s on a good trajectory. Daniel is well known to us – it's great to have him back in the Red Bull fold – and of course everything is open for 2025 onwards.
“For us, to have options internally and also externally is no bad place to be.”
With Perez’s own contract at Red Bull expiring at the end of 2024, it could be Ricciardo’s key chance to seal a return to the top team. In his recent Beyond The Grid interview, the Australian admitted that ending his career at Red Bull would be “perfect” though wasn’t willing to put any timings on it.
“I'm not even going to put a day, or date on it, or year, whatever,” he said. “I think coming back into it and jumping back in with the Red Bull family, doing the test in July, all these things, working with Simon [Rennie] again, that's really the dream. Honestly, to end my career as a Red Bull driver would be perfect. Not that I'm looking at the end, but if I go back there, then I'll certainly make sure I finish there.”
Perez, meanwhile, will also be doing what he can to earn himself a contract extension at a Red Bull, with a shot at the title very much in his sights for 2024.