Horner says Ricciardo’s ‘objective’ is Red Bull seat in 2025 as he gets set for Hungary comeback
Christian Horner has admitted that F1 returnee Daniel Ricciardo is already eyeing up a Red Bull seat for the future, describing it as the Australian’s “objective” after he secured a comeback with AlphaTauri.
Ricciardo will be back in action at this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix – in place of Nyck de Vries – after half a year on the sidelines as Red Bull’s reserve driver, having parted ways with McLaren at the end of the 2022 campaign.
It marks a full-circle moment for Ricciardo, who raced for Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri) in the early stages of his F1 career before gaining promotion to the senior Red Bull team, where he won seven Grands Prix.
In a recent appearance on the F1 Nation podcast, Red Bull team boss Horner fielded plenty of questions about the driver shake-up, including what the long-term objective is with 34-year-old Ricciardo.
“I think, at the moment, there’s only something in place until the end of the season, so there are no thoughts or expectations beyond that,” he explained. “We’ve loaned him to AlphaTauri until the end of the year.”
With both Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez contracted at Red Bull through 2024, Horner continued: “Obviously our drivers are going to be Max and Checo again next year, but it’s always good to have talent in reserve.
“I think Daniel is viewing AlphaTauri… He firmly wants to be pitching for that 2025 Red Bull seat – that’s his objective. By going to AlphaTauri, I think he sees that as his best route of stating his case for 2025.”
Horner was also asked what current Red Bull racer Perez might by thinking about Ricciardo’s return, with the Mexican enduring a challenging qualifying run that has seen him drop out in either Q1 or Q2 at the last five events.
“Checo’s had a horrible run of Saturdays,” Horner stated. “Five Saturdays in a row he’s not made it into Q3. I think some of that has been bad luck, some of it has been a little self-inflicted…
“We’re just trying to help him through that period. He’s still second in the world championship, he’s won two Grands Prix so far out of the 10 this year, and he started the season in such great form. We just want to help him rediscover that form.
“Budapest is going to be a venue where, hopefully, he can have a straightforward weekend. Then we’ve got a Sprint race in Spa less than a week later, pretty much. Hopefully Checo can rediscover the form that he showed in Jeddah and Azerbaijan, where he was absolutely on the top of his game.”
Red Bull and AlphaTauri will arrive in Hungary at opposite ends of the constructors’ standings, with the Milton Keynes squad leading the way and the Faenza operation bringing up the rear.