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Daniel Ricciardo

Ricciardo stat that questions his F1 future

Daniel Ricciardo has made a shocking start to the 2024 F1 season, throwing his immediate future into doubt.

Ricciardo Australia
To news overview © XPBimages

Daniel Ricciardo has made a woeful start to the 2024 F1 season, with one statistic epitomising the precarious position the RB driver finds himself in.

Ahead of the current campaign, one of the major talking points was whether Ricciardo would grab the VCARB-01 by the horns and be rewarded with a 2025 return to Red Bull.

At present, an early departure from RB appears more likely, with the eight-time race winner currently yet to demonstrate the pace that saw him offered a one-year deal at Red Bull's sister team.

Adding the pressure onto Ricciardo is that team-mate Yuki Tsunoda has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills, and scored the team's first points of the season at the Australian Grand Prix after finishing seventh.

The real dilemma for Ricciardo is not necessarily his race pace, but the fact he has been consistently slower than Tsunoda over one-lap. Ricciardo is yet to out-qualify the Japanese, with his disadvantage to the 34-year-old increasing this season race-by-race.

Staggeringly, across the opening three races, Ricciardo has on average been +0.446s slower than Tsunoda. To add fuel to the fire, Nyck de Vries' disadvantage to the Japanese driver after three events last year was less.

De Vries, who was booted by the Faenza-based outfit after 10 races, was on average +0.421s slower than Tsunoda across the opening three rounds in 2023.

Distance to Tsunoda in opening three qualifying sessions

Driver Bahrain Saudi Arabia Australia Average
De Vries (2023) +0.721 +0.305 +0.236 +0.421
Ricciardo (2024) +0.149 +0.461 +0.729 +0.446

Will Ricciardo suffer the same fate?

There is no doubt the figures are not pretty for Ricciardo, who is being replaced in first practice at the Japanese Grand Prix by Red Bull junior driver Ayumu Iwasa.

De Vries was replaced by Ricciardo after 10 races last season due to his continuously disappointing displays. According to rumours, the 33-year-old has even less time than that to save his career.

It has been rumoured Ricciardo has the next two races to save his career or be replaced by Liam Lawson who is waiting in the wings, although it is understood the New Zealander's manager is unaware of such a situation.

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