Marko hints at major F1 shakeup: Sainz’s next move and Ricciardo’s fate

Dr. Helmut Marko, the prominent Austrian consultant for Red Bull’s Formula 1 teams, has opened up about the potential shifts within their driver lineups. Ferrari refugee Carlos Sainz Jr. is currently experiencing peak form, with Marko acknowledging ongoing discussions with him about 2025. “He is having his strongest season in Formula 1,” he observed, highlighting Sainz’s ascent through the junior program to his positions at McLaren and Renault before moving to Ferrari.

With Ferrari choosing not to retain Sainz for 2025, speculation is rife about his next move, with connections being made to Audi, Mercedes, and even a possible slot at Red Bull as Sergio Perez’s successor. Marko, however, praises Perez’s current form: “If he can maintain these performances, like qualifying in Japan, then he is certainly our best option for 2025.” He also commended Perez for adapting his approach to align more closely with teammate Max Verstappen’s, which has proven beneficial.

Red Bull, however, appears to have no vacancy for Sainz. Marko mentioned, “We’re talking to him, but he has a very lucrative offer from Audi that we can’t match or beat.” He recalled the past tension when Verstappen was favoured over Sainz, “We know him from the Toro Rosso days, but it hurt him a lot when we put our faith in Verstappen rather than him.”

Daniel Ricciardo’s future at the junior squad RB is also under scrutiny. Once considered a strong contender to replace Perez in 2025, Ricciardo is now facing challenges from his teammate Yuki Tsunoda. “The requirement for Daniel was that he had to be clearly faster than Yuki if he wanted to have any hope of securing a seat at Red Bull,” Marko explained, hinting at a potentially bleak outlook: “That hasn’t been the case so far, even though it was close in Japan. We’ll see how that develops.”

Moreover, Marko hinted at the possibility of Ricciardo being replaced mid-season if his performances do not improve. He also mentioned Liam Lawson, a potent reserve driver for Red Bull, “We have a strong driver in Liam Lawson as reserve driver,” noting Lawson’s potential moves, “In this respect, it would of course be exciting for us if we could see him in Formula 1 this year so that we can get an even clearer picture. But that’s a complex topic, so we’ll have to wait and see how it develops.”

GMM

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