Christian Horner says Daniel Ricciardo's new Red Bull Formula 1 contract is "for a specific reason" as rejoins the team. Ricciardo was formally announced on Wednesday as the third driver at the Milton Keynes squad , returning to the team he left in 2018 shadowing Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez. Given the nature of the position, and recent relations between both race drivers over a team orders refusal and allegations of a deliberate crash, there are likely to be questions concerning the security of Perez's seat, with Verstappen firmly secure at the team on a deal until 2028. However, despite Ricciardo's history with the team, Horner is quite clear on where Red Bull's loyalties lie.
Horner on Ricciardo and Perez plans
"Daniel's contract is very specific for a specific reason," Horner told media including RacingNews365.com when asked if Ricciardo could become a potential driving option. "We have a contract with Checo for the next two years and he has made a good step this year. "He felt more comfortable in the team at the beginning of the year after joining in that first year during a COVID period. "What the partnership of Max and Checo had produced has been phenomenal for us. "The five one-two finishes, the Constructors' Championship that we hadn't won for eight years is a phenomenal achievement and obviously [given] the combination of both drivers and their points contributions, they do have a good relationship. "They've raced well for the team, and we've got no reason to see that being any different tomorrow or for the duration of their contractual commitment to the team thereafter." Verstappen's deal lasts until the end of 2028, while Perez signed a new two-year deal at the Monaco Grand Prix having performed well as Verstappen's number two - helping him to secure the 2021 title in the Abu Dhabi finale.
What about Ricciardo?
While as reserve driver Ricciardo would be the logical choice to slot in and replace Verstappen and Perez in case of illness, injury or a race ban, Horner believes the eight-time Grand Prix winner's duties will be clear. "[Daniel's] still one of the biggest names, one of the biggest characters in Formula 1," Horner said. "He obviously has a history as being a Red Bull Junior, and just with the demands that are on the race drivers these days, from a marketing perspective alone - we're very active as a team, we do many show runs and events - and to have a driver of Daniel's profile and history with the team and within the group is only an asset for us."