Daniel Ricciardo’s nightmare as Sergio Pérez Red Bull news arrives

Daniel Ricciardo has been jumping through hoops for a position that may already be filled.

This is according to an explosive report that claims Red Bull has already made the decision to continue with Sergio Pérez as Max Verstappen’s teammate beyond the 2024 season.

The Australian has been the favorite to replace the Mexican driver in the main Red Bull team since his surprise move to the Visa CashApp RB development team in the middle of the 2023 season.

The veteran driver has made no secret of his aspirations to win Red Bull’s second seat in 2025, but that dream now appears to have faded.

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According to Mexican Fox Sports journalist Luis Manuel López, the current world champion team has issued a one-year contract extension offer for Pérez.

In a surprise twist, Perez reportedly rejected the contract offer and is instead holding out for a two-year deal before putting pen to paper.

“The team already has the contract, it is for one year,” López said in Spanish on Fox Sports Radio.

“They offered it to Checo (Pérez) and he said, ‘Hmm, we have to look at it.’

“Checo’s lawyers are in that process, but Checo presented a two-year counterproposal to which Red Bull immediately said no.”

It is a breakthrough that will cause shock to the rest of the Formula 1 paddock, as the fight for the few seats left available in 2025 begins.

Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Pérez.  Photo: Sky Sports and Getty.
Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Pérez. Photo: Sky Sports and Getty.Source: Supplied

Ricciardo and teammate Yuki Tsunoda had hoped to win the seat currently occupied by Perez, but neither has set the world on fire this season.

Ricciardo appeared to have struck a blow in the battle when he knocked Perez out of Q3 in qualifying for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix last weekend, but it appears to have been in vain.

Williams driver Alex Albón and Carlos Sainz have also previously been linked with Perez’s job.

Ricciardo is under contract with sister team Red Bull until the end of the 2024 season, but may now be looking for a new team if his dream of partnering with Verstappen does not materialise.

Formula 1’s silly season began earlier this year following Lewis Hamilton’s explosive move to Ferrari, but Ricciardo has never been linked with the now-vacant Mercedes seat.

Ricciardo’s future took a turn earlier this year when Red Bull senior advisor Helmut Marko hinted that the 34-year-old had a “long-term” contract with Red Bull beyond 2024.

Now that Perez appears to have secured the prized trip, all bets may be off.

Marko has been one of Perez’s biggest critics and made public statements last month that Perez could “relax” if he is given a multi-year contract.

“Everything is a choice,” Marko said last month.

“Our team is working very well currently. If he (Pérez) has a secure contract for two years, there is a risk that he will slack off.”

Despite the immense pressure of having an ax placed on him, Perez is off to a solid start to the 2024 season.

He never seemed fazed by speculation about his future.

“I’m pretty calm about it, it’s my 14th season in F1,” Perez told Sky Sports F1 last month.

“No matter what happens, I am very satisfied with what I have done in the sport so far.

“I think it will be a matter of time (before my future is decided) and obviously the driver market is moving and in the coming weeks there will surely be a lot of movement. I hope to know within a month what I will do next year.”

Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda seem to have lost their way. Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images.Source: Getty Images

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has always been one of Ricciardo’s biggest fans, but it seems their close friendship won’t be enough to give the Australian a second chance in the Red Bull seat.

“The whole driver market seems to be very early this year, and everyone seems to be racing, and we’re four races into the year,” Horner said in April.

“We are not in a big rush and obviously there is a lot of interest in our cars, as expected, and Checo has priority.

“But it will be a few more races before we start thinking about next year.”

Perez is third in the 2024 F1 driver standings with 107 points, well behind world championship leader Verstappen (161 points).

Their biggest advantage has been that Ricciardo and Tsunoda have not improved their performances this season.

Ricciardo has just five points in the championship, while Tsunoda has 15 so far this year.

Pérez’s future will be the big topic of conversation ahead of this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix.