Sergio Perez 'relaxed' about Daniel Ricciardo arrival as Sky Sports F1 pundits debate 2024 Red Bull seat
Daniel Ricciardo has been mooted with a return to the grid with Red Bull after agreeing third driver deal but Sergio Perez insists his signing "doesn't change anything" while Sky Sports F1 David Croft says: "Daniel's a fantastic bloke... but he's not the future of Red Bull."
Last Updated: 22/12/22 1:52pm
Sergio Perez has welcomed Daniel Ricciardo's return to Red Bull as a third driver, insisting it "doesn't change anything" despite the Sky Sports F1 pundits' belief that he could be a contender to replace the Mexican.
Ricciardo - after four mixed seasons away from Red Bull, the last of which saw him axed by McLaren - is back with the Milton Keynes-based world champions for 2023, taking up a role which will see him complete simulator and development work as well as promotional activity.
The eight-time race race winner wants to return to the Formula 1 grid full-time in 2024 and, with Perez struggling alongside Max Verstappen in the second half of this season, many have linked Ricciardo with his seat.
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Ricciardo and Verstappen were team-mates through 2016, '17 and '18 and have maintained a strong relationship.
But Perez told Sky Sports News earlier this month: "I'm pretty relaxed.
"We live under a lot of pressure all the time, it doesn't change anything form my side. I think it's a great achievement from the team to have a driver like Daniel. He's going to contribute a lot to our team."
Perez also stressed he was good friends with Ricciardo.
"He's a great guy, he's one of the guys I get on most with on the paddock," he said. "It's great to have Daniel in the team and from my side it doesn't change anything.
"We started our careers at a similar time so we've known each other a long time. I certainly get on with him."
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Sky Sports F1's Karun Chandhok
"I'm waiting to see how it plays out.
"The last time Ricciardo drove for Red Bull was in 2018 and F1 cars have changed a lot, it's like a different category now. I think Max has changed a lot, too.
"I think Daniel vs Checo is an interesting fight for '24 seat... but how do they evaluate Daniel? They can put him in the sim, but it's not like driving the real car. So will they give him a go in a test somewhere? That's what I'd like to see."
Sky Sports F1's David Croft
"I think they're two very different styles of driver. They're both capable of winning races, but they win races in very different ways.
"Daniel's a fantastic bloke... but he's not the future of Red Bull, mainly because of age.
"When Max spoke at the end of the season of potentially stopping at the age of 31, that's a big revelation to me. He's already thinking about the time he stops racing. Personally, I'd be trying to evaluate someone else to come in if Checo's not the answer."