Daniel Ricciardo’s career in tatters as Red Bull hammers Sergio Perez nail

The final nail in Daniel Ricciardo’s hopes of a promotion to Red Bull has been driven.

On Wednesday morning the world champion team confirmed widespread rumors that the team would extend Sergio Perez’s contract for another two years until the end of the 2026 season.

It’s a big blow for the Australian and the pendulum has now swung towards his ambitions of remaining on the Formula 1 grid.

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Perez’s contract was due to be renewed at the end of the season, but the extension will keep him among the world champions for a sixth season.

Ricciardo, 34, had never hidden the fact that his ultimate goal was to take Red Bull’s No. 2 spot in 2025 and Perez’s announcement leaves the veteran driver at a crossroads.

Many fans all say the same thing, that Ricciardo’s career – or at least his dream of fighting for a world championship – is over.

Having been signed midway through last season, Ricciardo was thought to be the prime driver to take Perez’s place and join world champion Max Verstappen at Red Bull.

But after eight races, the pressure is on Ricciardo as he fights for his future not only in his Visa Cash App RB team, but also in Formula 1.

Expected to have done little to teammate Yuki Tsunoda, after eight races, the young Japanese holds a 7-1 advantage in qualifying, a 6-1 record in races (both men had DNFs in China) and a lead of 19-5 on the drivers’ standings.

After failing to set the world on fire this year, it was widely reported that he was no longer seen as a “real alternative” to Perez.

But the fact that Perez’s deal is for two seasons means Ricciardo will be 36 when he can perhaps take another look at a place with the Red Bull team.

Before Red Bull announced its new deal with Perez, rumors began to circulate that Ricciardo is likely to keep his seat at RB, but only because of his friendship with Red Bull boss Christian Horner.

BBC senior Formula 1 writer Andrew Benson wrote recently that Horner is committed to Ricciardo despite his Japanese teammate beating him this year.

This means that Tsunoda may be looking elsewhere.

This sends shocks through the rest of the grid too, with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz yet to secure a job for next year.

RB reserve driver Liam Lawson is also free to sign with rival teams if RB decide to keep Ricciardo and Tsunoda.

“At the moment, however, Ricciardo is protected by team principal Christian Horner, sources say, and for now he is safe from being replaced by reserve Liam Lawson,” Benson wrote.

“It is not difficult to imagine a lineup of Lawson and Ricciardo at RB in 2025, however, if Horner does not change position and Tsunoda moves elsewhere.”

Tsunoda recently revealed he would consider offers from rival F1 teams if he was not promoted to Verstappen’s partner.

He has already been linked with moves to both Aston Martin and Haas.

Perez, meanwhile, was thought to be under more pressure than anyone else in 2024, as half the drivers on the grid battled for a chance to steal the Mexican driver’s place.

“I’m really happy to commit my future to this great team,” said Perez, who has won six races in his career.

“It’s a challenge like no other race for Red Bull Racing, both on and off the track. I am happy to stay here to continue our journey together and contribute to the great history of this team for another two years.”

Perez has played second fiddle to Max Verstappen and is currently fifth in the standings, 62 points behind his teammate ahead of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.

Verstappen has indicated he will honor a contract that runs until 2028, despite interest from Mercedes following the fallout from sexual harassment allegations involving team principal Christian Horner earlier this year.

Horner, who denies the allegations, was cleared in February in an internal investigation conducted by Red Bull’s parent company.

Red Bull’s dominance has been under threat this season, with McLaren’s Lando Norris winning in Miami last month, while Charles Leclerc triumphed in Monaco.

“Now is an important time to confirm our lineup for 2025 and we are very pleased to continue working together with Checo (Perez),” Horner said.

“Continuity and stability are important to the team and both Checo and Max represent a solid and successful partnership, securing our first ever team double in the league last year.”

– with the AFP

Read related topics:Daniele Ricciardo

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