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Ex-F1 driver predicts 'interesting fight' between Ricciardo and Perez

With Daniel Ricciardo returning to Red Bull as a reserve driver in 2023, former F1 driver Karun Chandhok is curious to see how the team "evaluate" the Australian.

Former F1 driver Karun Chandhok is expecting an "interesting fight" between Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez for a possible place at Red Bull in 2024. With Ricciardo's multi-year contract at McLaren being terminated early, the Australian was left without a seat on the grid for 2023. He was subsequently announced as a reserve driver at Red Bull, meaning that he will return to the team with whom he achieved most of his success in Formula 1 between 2014 and 2018. While Perez is contracted to remain with the squad until the end of 2024, speculation has arisen over whether Ricciardo can put himself in contention for a comeback and pose a threat to Perez's place. However, Chandhok believes that Ricciardo's form could be difficult for Red Bull to assess.

Chandhok: How do Red Bull evaluate Ricciardo?

"I'm waiting to see how it plays out because the last time Daniel drove a Red Bull was in 2018, and Formula 1 cars have changed a lot," Chadhok told Sky Sports F1 . "It's like a different category now. I think Max [Verstappen] has changed a lot, [given] the trajectory he's been on. He's a 25-year-old whose confidence is growing. "I think Daniel versus Checo is an interesting fight for the '24 seat. How do they evaluate Daniel? That's what I I'm interested to see because, yeah, they can put them in the [simulator], but it's not the same as driving the old car. "So will they give him a go in a test somewhere? That's what I'd like to see, is how do they genuinely evaluate Daniel Ricciardo today?"

Croft: Ricciardo not the future for Red Bull

Chandhok's fellow Sky pundit David Croft thinks that Ricciardo and Perez are both strong drivers, but believes that Ricciardo – at 33 years old – will not be the "future" at Red Bull. "I think that they're two very different styles of driver," Croft explained. "They're both capable of winning races but, to me, they win races in very different ways. I hate to say this – I think Daniel's a terrific bloke, but he is not the future for Red Bull, not by any stretch of the imagination, mainly because of age. "When Max spoke at the end of the season and talked about potentially stopping at the age of 31, that's a big revelation to me. "He's already thinking about the time he stops racing. If he's thinking that, then Red Bull should be thinking it too. Personally, I'd be trying to identify somebody else to come in [in the future]."

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