It is possible that Daniel Ricciardo will stay at Alpha Tauri in 2024.
That is despite the fact that rumours are swirling that team owner Red Bull actually wants to reunite the 33-year-old Australian with Max Verstappen at the energy drink company’s premier team.
However, team boss Christian Horner says that cannot happen until 2025 – when Sergio Perez’s contract runs out.
Horner admits, however, that Ricciardo is “clearly” targeting a seat at Red Bull Racing.
“Now Daniel has an opportunity between now and the end of the year to demonstrate that he hasn’t lost any of his form,” he said at Spa Francorchamps.
“And then a decision will be made as to whether he remains in that seat for a further 12 months. Obviously, the reason Daniel was brought back into the seat is not because he has long term aspirations to be an Alpha Tauri driver for the next five years.
“He sees it as the quickest route to getting back into a competitive seat.”
But first, Ricciardo – who was dumped by McLaren last year after two poor seasons with the Woking-based team – needs to serve his time at Alpha Tauri.
“Obviously it’s very clear that Alpha Tauri drivers and Toro Rosso drivers before that were placed there to develop them as potential Red Bull Racing candidates and Daniel’s very aware of that,” Horner said.
“That’s his objective,” he added, “but it wouldn’t be before 2025.”